Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

Governor's Traffic Safety Committee - PowerPoint Presentation


Department:Legislature OfficeSponsors:
Category:Public SafetyFunctions:Traffic Safety Committee

Meeting History

Feb 7, 2018 3:00 PM  Public Safety Committee Regular Meeting
RESULT:DEFERREDNext: 3/7/2018 3:00 PM
Mar 7, 2018 3:00 PM  Public Safety Committee Regular Meeting

Mr. John introduced Ms. Kozakiewicz, Tompkins County’s Highway Safety Representative from the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) which covers 16 counties in the Southern Tier, and Sargeant Todd Engwer, a law enforcement liaison to the State’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Ms. Kozakiewicz said the purpose of her attendance at today’s meeting is to speak about the functions of Traffic Safety Boards of which the roles and make-up of these Boards are included in New York State Vehicle and Traffic Safety Law. She said in Tompkins County there is missing interaction between the County's Traffic Safety Committee with law enforcement. Ms. Kozakiewicz provided the Committee with a presentation entitled "Governor's Traffic Safety Committee" Fundamentals - Crash Course for Traffic Safety Boards. She explained the e-grants system and grants that are available and said the GTSC looks for grant applications that include approaches to solve problems that are data driven and ask for specific milestones throughout the year.

Sgt. Engwer explained the No Empty Chair Program is a teen driver educational awareness campaign that began in 2014. It is promoted during prom and graduation season to increase the awareness of traffic safety with young persons; other related focus areas include speeding in school zones, seatbelts, distracted driving, Operation Safe Stop, alcohol issues and underage drinking, and graduated license education. They work closely with law enforcement.

In response to Ms. Kelles as to whether demographic data is available relative to crash episodes, Ms. Kozakiewicz said there is a limit to what information is available and noted the data primarily includes what is listed on a ticket and does not contain information that is included on a driver's license. She added that TSSR (Traffic Safety Statistical Repository) is open to anyone to view data.

Ms. Kozakiewicz stressed that County Traffic Safety Committees should be all of the partners: law enforcement, MPO’s, highway, and non-profits within the jurisdiction who have a vested interested in public safety coming together to share information. She stated that a collective enforcement initiative is far better than every separate jurisdiction doing something on its own and said resource allocation is much better when there is a collective enforcement strategy with multiple jurisdictions. Ms. Kozakiewicz said she has met with local law enforcement who are grantees in Tompkins County and they have expressed interest in coming together to talk about traffic safety initiatives.

During the presentation it was noted that 2-3 % of teens make up the total number of drivers but make up 10% of the total accidents. Sgt. Engwer addressed outreach and education and said the GTSC awards an annual grant each year for educational presentations to be given throughout the State. He described speakers who have real-life experiences and who speak to high school students throughout the year with all costs being paid through the grant. He provided a flash drive to Ms. Black with information on the available resources that she will discuss during a previously scheduled meeting next week at the Ithaca High School. Ms. Lansing commented that this presentation is scheduled to come to Tompkins County for the first time in the Fall.

Ms. Kozakiewicz said Tompkins County has a phenomenal resource with Cornell University, the Sheriff's Department, and other local agencies that have done a lot of wonderful work around traffic safety. She committed to working closely with Tompkins County and would like to bring the County’s partners together and bring more grant funds into the County.

Mr. Granison asked where Tompkins County falls within activities compared to other counties. Ms. Kozakiewicz responded that she usually sees more grantees in other counties in her region that have multiple law enforcement agencies than Tompkins County. A list of all grant awards is available on the GTSC website:

Mr. John asked if the Committee wished to have a presentation on potential traffic safety grants that could be explored. There was consensus by members to include this on the next agenda.

Ms. Lansing briefly described the membership of the Traffic Safety Committee and said in addition to meeting regularly there is a need for more law enforcement to be involved. Mr. John said this should be examined as well as how this could fit with the STOP-DWI Program.

Sheriff Lansing spoke of the Department’s limited resources and said he thinks if Tompkins County had an active Traffic Safety Committee there could be a bigger and important service provided to the community.