When Warminster’s Carly Mannon graduated from Penn State Abington with a communications and marketing degree, the dream was to be a wedding planner.
Or so she thought.
“I also had an internship where I was at a nonprofit and I loved it,” she said. “I loved what you can do to help the community and to build those relationships.”
Instead of working with brides to coordinate guest lists and food menus, the William Tennent alum is now partnering with local school districts and law enforcement to save lives.
Recently, Mannon joined the TMA Bucks team to manage the nonprofit’s newly acquired Bucks County Community Traffic Safety Program, which aims to reduce the number of annual highway deaths in the area.
“When I found this role, I definitely wanted to see what I could do with it,” Mannon said. “I was very pleased to be accepted for the position. It’s an honor.”
The program, previously managed by St. Mary Medical Center, operates through federal funding that’s distributed by the state Department of Transportation. Grant funding is available for two years, though TMA Bucks hopes to continue managing the program for as long as possible.
In her new role, Mannon will utilize Bucks County’s grant to work with local police officers, business owners, schools, child care centers and more to educate community members about the importance of traffic safety.
“The program really targets demographics with higher crash rates and travel-related fatalities in the Bucks County area,” said Mannon. “That includes impaired driving, seatbelt safety, pedestrian safety, mature drivers who are senior citizens, motorcycle safety, teenage drivers and their safety, aggressive driving, distracted driving, bicycle safety, travel passenger safety and work zone safety. There are a lot of topics in the grant that we cover to spread awareness in our program.”
Due to continued COVID-19 closures, Mannon’s outreach efforts are so far mostly virtual. They include webinars and social media campaigns, including one that reminded residents not to drink and drive on Super Bowl Sunday. When Mannon does begin in-person programming, such as a school assembly, those resources are free of charge thanks to the grant.
“Hopefully by the spring, we’ll be able to start those events that we were looking forward to and get back into our schools, day camps and things like that,” she said.
Mannon is about a month into the position and is excited to inform as many locals as possible about the Traffic Safety Program.
“I never heard about the program and I am a Bucks County native. I feel like now that I know about it and what we can do with it, it’s really going to be able to help the community, especially the one that I live in, which is really rewarding,” she said. “We kind of are starting from scratch to build the program up again, which is nice and gives me a lot of room to grow and do whatever I can over the next few years.”
According to Mannon, because crash and fatality statistics vary across the county, each area will receive specialized outreach depending on its needs. For example, if she discovers that Feasterville has a high number of incidents related to distracted driving, education for those residents will center around that specific issue.
Prior to its acquisition of the program, TMA Bucks was already a strong advocate of traffic safety. In addition to its annual High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge and Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge, TMA provided all county high schools and colleges with “No Texting While Driving” signs, which schools placed at parking lot exits to remind student drivers of Pennsylvania’s anti-texting law.
“TMA Bucks is extremely excited to manage this important and life-saving program in Bucks County,” said Stephen Noll, TMA Bucks executive director. “The TMA has always been committed to providing leadership on highway safety issues in the county and this program will assist us in having the resources to reach more of the community to bring positive change.”
The Bucks County Community Traffic Safety Program will be headquartered at the County of Bucks Emergency Services Training Center, 1760 S. Easton Road, Doylestown. Carly Mannon can be reached at email@example.com or 267-895-5186. TMA Bucks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit transportation management association, is headquartered at 7 Neshaminy Interplex Drive, Feasterville-Trevose. Visit tmabucks.com or call 215-244-9082 for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org