OPP Constable Al Boyd receives MTO Road Safety Achievement Award

Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police Constable Al Boyd is presented the 2013 Road Safety Achievement-Professional Award, from Heidi Francis, assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Transportation Road User Safety Division.

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Constable Al Boyd is the recipient of a 2013 Road Safety Achievement Award through the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Constable Boyd was nominated for the award by Serena Verboom, a public health nurse with the Sudbury District Health Unit (SDHU) and co-chair of the Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition (MIPC). In her nomination submission she wrote, “Allan (Boyd) promotes road safety across the lifespan-he reaches each age sector with his messaging.” He has demonstrated this through his involvement with child car seat clinics and education campaigns, First Rider programs that teach young school bus passengers important safety rules, School Bus Patroller programs that train senior students to promote school bus safety to their peers, as well as a variety of initiatives that are delivered in secondary schools across the Island.”

Constable Boyd also hosts a daily radio broadcast to discuss all things road safety—from impaired and distracted driving, to avoiding wildlife collisions and providing tips for aging drivers, said Ms. Verboom. She also wrote, “on Manitoulin Island, summer time is vacation time and (Constable Boyd) works every weekend on the Island to promote road safety, whether it’s a festival or a fair, or any other community event—Allan is there. Constable Boyd has spent his entire policing career on Manitoulin Island and has forged many strong partnerships. Allan is the road safety leader on the Island and he has made a real difference for all of us.”

“This award came as a big surprise, and I am very humbled to have been nominated and selected for the award,” Constable Boyd told the Recorder on Monday. “It is a humbling experience to be recognized by your peers who you work with in the community—it’s the highest honour you can achieve. But I am just one spoke in the wheel among all the other community partners who work tirelessly, they are all at least equally deserving of this award. I share this award with all the members of the Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition. In my awards speech I also thanked my wife Judy for all the sacrifices she has made over the years so I could go out and participate in all these programs and attend summer events over the years.”

The MTO awards program was created in 1996 to recognize the outstanding contribution of individuals, organizations and community groups who work to improve the safety of Ontario’s roads. “The Road Safety Achievement Awards are held annually to recognize leadership, dedication and commitment to reducing motor vehicle collisions, injuries and death on our roads in six categories of excellence which include: Road Safety Achievement-Professional, Road Safety Achievement-Volunteer, Media Excellence in Road Safety, Corporate Leadership in Road Safety, Road Safety Partnerships and Road Safety Initiative of the Year,” an MTO release explains.

The release notes, “The Road Safety Achievement Award in the Professional Category recognizes an individual’s leadership, dedication and creativity in the field of road safety promotion. This award is given to an individual involved with road safety in a professional capacity who has made a significant contribution to road safety through community initiatives, public education, research or the influence of policy. This individual has demonstrated strong community leadership and mobilization in the area of road safety.”

“Serena Verboom is the chair of the MIPC, and our group promotes such things as car seat safety, bicycle and biking safety in schools,” said Constable Boyd. The coalition includes a good cross section of people around the island, such as representatives of Emergency Measures Ontario Safety First Nations police services, the UCCM and Wikwemikong Tribal Police, health unit, fire department and many others, he pointed out.

One of the first programs Constable Boyd has been involved in on Manitoulin was one that included the participation of Manitoulin Transport. “For years we have been involved in community service and road safety initiatives. The OPP started a partnership with Manitoulin Transportation back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, concerning road, vehicle and tire safety initiatives and promotion. A total of 30,000 postcards were printed and distributed at public fairs and events in the Ontario Partners on the Road to Safety program.”

“I have also been involved in Operation Lookout, which started in the late 1990s,” said Constable Boyd. “In the late 1990s information provided by the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation showed that Manitoulin had the highest per capita of impaired drivers in Ontario. As a member of the injury prevention coalition this is a headline that no one liked to read. Basically (OARF) we are saying that on Friday and Saturday, one of every seven drivers on Manitoulin had been drinking. So the MIPC looked at potential program such as Operation Lookout to reduce these incidents.”

Under the program, “motorists call in if they see someone who appears to be driving while impaired or driving aggressively,” said Constable Boyd. “They report the vehicle and direction the vehicle is travelling and a OPP officer intercepts the vehicle. After about 14 years the program is doing extremely well, and Manitoulin is now 20-25th on the list in Ontario for these statistics.”

“Of course bus safety is number one and every year in schools we host programs like the First Ride program in Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes where we take the students for a ride on a bus and show all safety precautions, and do bus evacuations,” said Constable Boyd. “There are also the car seat clinics we hold, the bicycle safety program held in schools and bicycling rodeos, and education on snowmobile safety” and programs held at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) including mock motor vehicle accidents at the junction of Highways 551 and 540 involving school buses, students and an ‘impaired driver.’

The 2013 Road Safety Achievement Awards were presented on Tuesday, June 10 at the historic Vaughan Estate at the Estates of Sunnybrook in Toronto. Constable Boyd was presented his award by Heidi Francis, the assistant deputy minister of the MTO’s Road User Safety Division. He was accompanied by his wife Judy and his son Shawn.