Between the state and federal computers that flank Joan Benzon in ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety, sit three national awards that recognize consistently great work that she performs for Idaho.
Benzon regularly combs through a variety of reports, files, data and statistics in her position as Idaho’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) analyst searching for information that can be coded and submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA). More simply, Benzon provides a detailed accounting to NCSA of all of the people killed on Idaho roadways.
Once accepted by the FARS national database, the statistical information is used to provide an overall measure of highway safety, to help identify traffic safety problems, to suggest solutions and to help evaluate the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety standards and highway safety programs.
For her efforts, she received a 2007 FARS “Above and Beyond” award during ceremonies held Oct. 24 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The award recognizes outstanding FARS analysts and is Benzon’s third FARS award since 2003. Only five analysts in the nation received the award this year.
“She does a good job for us,” said supervisor Susan Mulkey, who nominated Benzon for all three FARS awards.
“Joan is meticulous in the details of her job and is persistent in tracking down some of the information that is needed to fully describe the circumstances surrounding a fatal crash,” Mulkey said.
“She has always ranked very high
in the nation in the area of the GPS location of the crash, which is
an indicator of the thoroughness of attention she gives her job. She
strives to meet every deadline and responds quickly to requests above
and beyond her normal duties.”
“I like what I do, feel good about it and enjoy it,” said Benzon who has worked at ITD the past seven years – six of which have been in her current position. “I started as a temp, but took the opportunity to go full time.”
Before joining ITD she worked in the medical field.
Benzon splits her time between state reporting needs and FARS responsibilities, but confided that on some days her job can be emotionally difficult.
“You can make people a statistic, but when it’s a child or someone you know,” she said. “Well, I’ve shed a few tears.”
She is married to ITD Economics and Research Manager Doug Benzon.