Thomas and Barbara Furino of Edgartown have won the 2008 President’s Award from the Central Massachusetts Safety Council for their efforts to promote safe driving by teenagers.
Their son, David Furino, 17, was killed in an automobile accident at Katama with fellow student Kevin Johnson on May 7, 2004. The Furinos subsequently created a nonprofit organization, Martha’s Vineyard Drive for Life.
The organization’s mission is to establish networks between public, private, and government partners to make technologically advanced drivers education available for every teen, and to bring driver’s education back into all high schools in Massachusetts. The organization seeks to save lives, prevent injuries, and to reduce vehicle-related crashes.
Earlier this month, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School committee unanimously approved a plan to add a driver’s education as an elective starting in September. The school plans to provide an instructor and devote two classrooms to the course. One classroom would be used for course lectures; the other would house simulators used for driver training. Martha’s Vineyard Drive for Life is funding the training equipment.
Mr. Furino said the organization also has been working with state Sen. Robert O’Leary, who represents the Vineyard, on a bill named David’s Law, which would impose a five per cent surcharge on driving fines. The surcharge money would be used to fund driver training in Massachusetts high schools.
The safety council gave the Furinos the award on June 19. Mr. Furino yesterday expressed gratitude to the council’s president, Tim Cooney, for his support of their efforts.