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The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award

The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards recognize notable achievements in the field of highway safety during the prior calendar year by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, government agencies, universities or programs. About Peter K. O'Rourke

2010 Winner: DCH Auto Group

All 2010 Highway Safety Award Winners

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DCH Auto Group is the largest auto group in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nation, with 27 dealerships in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and California. In response to the growing concern about teen driver safety, as well as fatal crashes in its service areas, DCH made a substantial commitment to promote teen safe driving through active involvement in local high schools and communities. As a leader in the field of vehicle supply and service, DCH believed that it could play a positive role in improving teen driver safety.

DCH’s involvement goes far beyond donation of funds. It encompasses a company-wide commitment to raising awareness about the issue and assisting young people in tangible ways. In 2009, in spite of the most significant budget crisis in their industry in decades, DCH broadened their commitment to this program, expanding from providing support to four pilot schools to 27 schools in DCH service areas.

Based on a belief that the issues in teen driving require a teen response, DCH supported the creation of SADD chapters in local high schools within each of the communities served by their dealerships. Each SADD chapter received: a stipend for advisor support, technical assistance from local prevention specialists, dealership support for youth projects, sponsorships for dealership events, and prizes for student contests.

DCH also supported travel for students and advisors to attend the SADD national conference and set up regional training conferences on the east and west coasts. At the SADD conference, each chapter created the work plan for activities in their communities in the upcoming year. These work plans use prevention strategies and incorporate collaboration with law enforcement, local media, community coalitions and local businesses.

In addition, DCH supported national youth traffic safety nonprofits through corporate affiliation with both the SADD national office and National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), including service on NOYS Board of Directors. All dealerships also promoted National Teen Driving Safety Week in October and National Youth Traffic Safety Month in May.

DCH has advocated for teen safe driving in its dealership states through meetings with State Highway Safety Offices and elected representatives. It promoted the issue with the public at large through the Mindless Driving: Keep It Out of Cars campaign, featuring brochures, instore kiosks, public service announcements, advertising, and media coverage addressing eight behaviors teens should avoid.

To date, DCH has sponsored 27 SADD chapters in high schools in its service areas. These chapters range in size from 30 students to 150 students. Activities supported by the DCH/SADD chapters have reached 30,000 students as well as hundreds of parents and family members. Through community events sponsored by the DCH/SADD chapters, thousands of additional community members have been affected.

For more information, contact Roy Bavaro at 732-952-0218 or rbavaro@dchusa.com.