2014-03-27 / Front Page

Local woman honored for KARS project

Safety program aids low-income families

MANISTIQUE – Manistique resident Diane Curry was recently honored at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission annual awards luncheon in East Lansing. Curry developed an innovative approach to child passenger safety for low income families.

The commission honors organizations, programs and individuals for outstanding contributions to traffic safety. The awards luncheon is part of the 19th Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. Three Outstanding Traffic Safety Achievement awards and three long-term awards are being presented.

In an effort to streamline and standardize car seat distribution to low-income families in the U.P., Curry collaborated with community agencies, including the Women, Infants and Children program offices, to establish the Kids Always Ride Safely program.

The program offers car seats to qualified parents and other caregivers at a discount. Parents and caregivers also receive training from a CPS technician to properly install their car seat.

By partnering with agencies already serving families in need, the KARS program meets parents and caregivers at locations they are already accustomed to visiting for services, making access to car seats easier.

As the KARS program project director, Curry coordinates a network of CPS technicians in seven U.P. counties.

Since the program began in 2011, car seat distribution to families in need in participating counties has more than doubled.

Curry started the KARS program while working at the Marquette County Health Department. She has since retired but continues to serve as project director. The KARS program is supported by federal traffic safety funds from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

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 is comprised of representatives from the departments of: Community Health, Education, 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.

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