WASHINGTON — The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released nearly $260 million in highway safety grants.
These grants, part of the funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, were distributed to highway safety offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, United States territories and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to a Dec. 16 NHTSA news release.
The funds will help address the traffic safety crisis on America’s roads by helping states and territories support a broad array of traffic safety priorities, the news release stated. When full-year distributions are completed, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will increase the funding available for these vital life-saving programs by 31% over the previous fiscal year’s levels.
“Traffic crashes take the lives of too many Americans, but these tragedies are not inevitable, and we will not accept them as part of everyday life,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Bolstered by additional funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants will save lives by improving safety on America’s roadways.”
The $133.3 million in State and Community Highway Safety Program funds will enhance highway safety by supporting data-driven traffic safety programs in the states.
These programs include initiatives such as high-visibility enforcement campaigns and other safe driving campaigns, as well as enforcement of and education about state laws on seat belt use and risky driving. In addition, the funding will help improve traffic records and support programs on the proper use of child safety seats, including inspection stations where caregivers can confirm the proper installation of their child safety seats.
NHTSA is providing an additional $123.4 million to states and eligible territories through the National Priority Incentive Programs. These funds include nearly $70 million for impaired driving countermeasures; $19 million for state traffic safety information systems to help states build databases related to crashes; more than $17 million for occupant protection including seat belt education and enforcement; more than $9 million for distracted driving prevention; $6.6 million for pedestrian and bicyclist safety programs; and $2 million for motorcyclist safety.
“The variety of funds available allows each state to target its specific challenges,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff. “Traffic safety may be a national problem, but the solutions are regional and local.”
This funding is part of over $13 billion in funding for roadway safety programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including a $6 billion new Safe Streets for All discretionary grant program. The Department will release its first ever National Roadway Safety Strategy in January to lay out policies and issue a call to action to officials at all levels of government and stakeholders across sectors to help reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.
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