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AARP AARP States Michigan Driver Safety

AARP volunteer wins state traffic safety honor

Robert Smith Austin Award winner
Jonathan Benallack

AARP Volunteer Robert Smith of Franklin was honored during the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC) annual awards presentation at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on March 22 in East Lansing for his dedication to the AARP Driver Safety Program.

Smith received the Richard H. Austin Long-Term Traffic Safety Award, which is presented to individuals or organizations who have made significant long-term contributions to the field of public safety. He was presented the award by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

The commission honors organizations, programs, and individuals for outstanding contributions to traffic safety.

During the last two decades Smith has taught 235 driver safety courses with more than 3,670 participants.

The 91-year-old volunteer continues to teach an eight-hour refresher course. The program uses safe driving strategies that inform participants about the new rules of the road, most common problems associated with operating a vehicle, as well as offering solutions which may help motorists drive safer longer.  Research shows a strong correlation between driver safety course enrollment and reduced traffic violations.

Nominators cited Smith’s lifetime of volunteerism and said that “thanks to Bob’s dedication to teaching and his collegial spirit,” injury prevention educators from around the nation have seen the benefits of the AARP Smart Driver classes.

Smith received the AARP State Shining Star Award in 2002 and 2014. He also has been recognized as the AARP State Driver Safety Volunteer of the Year. Nominators said of Smith: "Bob brings enthusiasm to his volunteer service equal to volunteers half his 90-plus years. He is tireless in promoting driver safety and keeping drivers 50 and older out of harm's way on Michigan highways."





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