The Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) has announced a Vision Zero art and essay contest for kids.

Vision Zero, an effort to reduce traffic fatalities in Greensboro, has some lofty goals.

Greensboro City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, who has been active in Vision Zero, said, “We want try to make sure we have zero traffic deaths by the year 2040.”

Abuzuaiter, who is chair of the Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (GUAMPO), which works with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said that the program had shown some progress toward that goal although there was a long way to go.

Abuzuaiter said, “In 2017 there were 41 traffic deaths in Greensboro and in 2019 that was reduced to 33 fatalities.”

She said that of those 33 traffic fatalities 10 were pedestrians, seven involved motorcycles and 16 were caused by driving while impaired.

Longtime GDOT director Adam Fisher retired in August 2019 and Abuzuaiter said that with an interim GDOT director the Vision Zero initiative had been placed on the “backburner” for a few months, but that Hannah Cockburn, who was named GDOT director in January, was a big supporter of Vision Zero and this art contest was one of the efforts to bring attention back to the program.

The Vision Zero art and essay contest will award $525 to the winners, with $100 to first place, $50 to second and $25 for third in each category.

The contests asks elementary, middle and high school students to write a short essay or use visual arts to show how to stay safe when riding in a car, on a bike or walking. The deadline to enter is August 14.

More information about the contest can be found on the City of Greensboro website.

Cockburn said, “I’m excited to engage young people in creating memorable safety messages that will resonate with our community and reinforce safe travel behaviors.”

The prize money is being provided by the John Klopp State Farm Insurance Agency and it is all part of the “What’s Your Safe?” campaign.