From left: Lawrence Hummel, Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission; Jason Mellema, superintendent, Ionia County Intermediate School District; Jack Lufkin, member of the Ionia County Youth Advisory Council; and Michael L. Prince, director, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning

Ionia County Youth Advisory Council recognized for the Strive 2 Arrive Alive initiative to help teens.

The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was honored during the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC) annual awards presentation today at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing for Strive 2 Arrive Alive (S2AA), its teen driver safety initiative.
The commission honors organizations, programs, and individuals for outstanding contributions to traffic safety. The awards ceremony is part of the 22nd Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. Six Outstanding Traffic Safety Achievement awards, a student award and three long-term awards are being presented.
YAC students plan, organize, and implement the annual S2AA Teen Driver Safety Conference for high schoolers from across the state. The group contacts sponsors, searches for vendors, books guest speakers, and designs marketing materials.
The sixth annual conference drew nearly 600 students from 13 school districts. The 2016 event included six breakout sessions where students could hear speakers share their impactful stories about distracted driving. Participants also had the opportunity to try out a distracted driver simulator, meet first responders and drive a golf cart while wearing impairment goggles.
Through hard work and dedication, YAC members have created and maintained a project that has taught thousands of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members about the importance of teen driver safety. Conference attendees receive a toolkit on how to address teen driver safety with peers in their school districts.
The Ionia County YAC is represented by high school students from Ionia, Belding, Lakewood, Lowell, Pewamo-Westphalia, Portland, and Saranac.
The GTSAC was formed in 2002 to serve as the state’s forum for identifying key traffic safety challenges and developing and implementing plans to address those issues. The GTSAC includes representatives from the departments of: Education, Health and Human Services, State, State Police, and Transportation, as well as Office of the Governor, Office of Services to the Aging, and Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. There are also three representatives from local government appointed by the governor.