DENTON — With more than 90 entries coming in from across the country, Marylander Natalie Grasso came up with the winning name for the www.FindMeDriving.com character naming contest. “SAM” is the face of the new road safety campaign initiated by the Maryland Soybean Board. Research funded by the Board showed that driver education on how to drive near slow moving vehicles, such as combines, tractors, buggies and wagons, could help decrease accidents on roads.
“Our committee had a lot of creative options to consider with entries from Washington state to Louisiana,” commented Belinda Burrier, farmer from Frederick County and MSB Chair. “We were delighted to see such a strong response to the contest and hope to see the enthusiasm continue for the education campaign.”
Selected for its relevance to slow moving vehicles, creativity, and ease of use in broad applications, Grasso captured it all with her entry.
“When I read about the naming contest, I wanted to come up with something that was ‘catchy,’ that would be easy to remember and that would be associated with the slow moving vehicle (SMV) character/emblem,” Grasso said. “I noticed that the corners were cut off on the triangle body of the character/emblem, so I came up with the slogan: Don’t Cut Corners, Follow SAM! S = Slow Down, A = Assess your Surroundings, M = Move with Caution.”
Grasso has a familiarity with transportation topics, working in the Office of Information Resources at the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA). “The Maryland Highway Safety Office falls under MDOT MVA, so safety is a huge part of what we do here and what we hear about on a daily basis.”
The Maryland Soybean Board is partnering with the MVA to help reach the goal of zero deaths and injuries on Maryland roads. Driver tips for driving near SMVs are available at www.findmedriving.com. The site also features tips for drivers of SMVs, to be proactive drivers and help avoid accidents. Further educational programming is underway.
“We welcome anyone to join us in this education effort,” said Burrier. “Together we can decrease road accidents and make all of our drives safer.”