The traffic safety community has lost an advocate, leader, partner, and friend.
DRIVE SMART Virginia Executive Director Janet Brooking passed away November 13, 2023, after a courageous fight with cancer. Janet led the traffic safety nonprofit for nearly 20 years.
During her tenure, DRIVE SMART Virginia pioneered distracted driving awareness, helping establish an annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Virginia.
Janet tirelessly advocated for Virginia’s primary handheld phone ban which was passed by the General Assembly in 2020. Under her leadership, DRIVE SMART Virginia hosted 10 annual summits on distracted driving across the Commonwealth. The nonprofit group designed and implemented an innovative interactive teen driving program, educating tens of thousands of high school students about the dangers of distracted driving. DRIVE SMART Virginia also launched the Virginia Partners for Safe Driving, garnering a commitment from more than 250 diverse organizations, companies, and agencies to promote traffic safety awareness.
A testament to her collaborative spirit, Janet played a pivotal role in the creation of the National Distracted Driving Coalition, advocating for innovative and collaborative approaches to foster a traffic safety culture of attentive drivers. Her ability to engage diverse stakeholders—communities, law enforcement, public sector, researchers, private businesses, educators, advocates, military, sports organizations, survivors—underscored her dedication to the broader cause.
As one of Janet’s collaborators recently shared, “She made me feel stronger, more capable and able to contribute to something bigger than myself.”
In honoring Janet’s legacy, we ask everyone to drive safer, and we call upon those dedicated to traffic safety to redouble their efforts. Her shared vision was one of zero deaths on our roadways, with no more lives lost to preventable crashes.
Let us unite in achieving this mission in her memory.
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Janet’s obituary and funeral details may be found here: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/…/janet-brooking-11537212