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Guide to NHTSA's 2011 grants

To prepare for these funding opportunities, your department must assess your traffic safety needs now

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people of every age from 4 to 34 years old.

David Strickland, administer of the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) says traffic fatalities account for more than 90% of transportation related fatalities and drain more that $230 billion from the economy each year.

NHTSA recently published its proposed budget for funding the needs of it department. Proposed grant programs are included in the document. To obtain a copy of this document, click here.

According to this document, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration remains dedicated to its mission to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes. In FY 2011, the agency is requesting $877.6 million, an increase of $4.8 million above the $872.8 million FY 2010 enacted funding level, to conduct vehicle research and rulemaking, as well as to develop and implement data-driven, workable, and self-sustaining local highway safety programs that reduce highway injuries and fatalities. To accomplish these objectives, NHTSA provides grants to states and local communities, supports research, demonstrations and countermeasure programs designed to prevent motor vehicle crashes and reduce their associated economic costs. NHDTA has requested $620,697, 000 (71% of the budget request) for highway safety grants. These grants are provided to law enforcement to enable the development of local highway safety programs.

The budget’s priority funding areas are research for advanced vehicle technologies, distracted driving, children, teen driver safety, older driver, pedestrian safety, fuel economy and environmental benefits. Page 146 of the document provides a detailed spread sheet of the Highway Safety Grants which are requested for 2011.

NHTSA provides grants to states and local communities, supports research grants, demonstration grants and counter measure program grants designed to prevent motor vehicle crashes and therefore reduce the associated economic costs. Examples of some of the proposed grant programs are as follows:

State and Community Grant Program
This program is to identify and refine consensus performance measures in state highway safety plans; continued focus on seat belt use, continued focus on correct child restraint use; combating impaired driving, promote use of ignition interlock technologies to address recidivism; collect and analyze crash data to identify priority safety problems.

Occupant Protection Incentive Grants
This program will fund occupant protection countermeasures and programs including improved seat belt and child safety laws, increased enforcement and correct child seat usage education programs.

Distracted Driving Prevention Grant
This grant is for the development and placement of broadcast and print media to support enforcement of distracted driving, also for any safety activity including police officers enforcement activity, collecting and analyzing relevant data and developing and conduction education programs.

Child Safety and Booster Seat Safety Incentive Grants
States will continue to purchase and distribute safety seats and restraints to low-income families, work with law enforcement to enforce child restraint laws, train child passenger safety professionals, educators and parents concerned with child safety seats and child restraints.

State Traffic Safety Information Systems Improvement Grants
States will use these grants to improve traffic safety information systems data that allow state and local government to correctly identify traffic safety problems, determine crash trends, and determine which traffic safety program activities are the most effective in reducing crash trends.

To prepare for these funding opportunities, your department must begin NOW to assess your traffic safety needs, crash data, trends, scope of problem, hot spots, etc. Research your data and map your numbers into a GIS to be able to visually see your traffic safety needs. You must have at a minimum the following data and information to apply for a NHTSA federal or state grant Highway Traffic Safety:

• Three to five years worth of current statistics
• National, regional and local or similar states statistics
• Make sure they're related to your target audience: child, distracted driver, impaired driver, older drivers etc.
• List data source and year

The NHTSA also requires that every applicant for Highway Safety Grants comply with the “Traffic Safety Performance Measures” whether the funding comes from a federal grant or the state related grants. You will find this document here.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) have agreed on a minimum set of performance measures to be used by States and federal agencies in the development and implementation of behavioral highway safety plans and programs. An expert panel from NHTSA, State Highway Safety Offices, academic and research organizations, and other key groups assisted in developing the measures. The initial minimum set contains 14 measures: ten core outcome measures, one core behavior measure, and three activity measures. The measures cover the major areas common to State highway safety plans and use existing data systems. States will set goals for and report progress on each of the 11 core outcomes and behavior measures annually beginning with their 2010 Highway Safety Plans and Annual Reports. States will report the activity measures annually beginning with their 2010 Highway Safety Plans and Annual Reports. States should define and use additional performance measures for their other high-priority highway safety areas as appropriate. NHTSA will use the core measures as an integral part of its reporting to the Congress, the public, and others."

This means that any grant application from a local or state police department must be fully aware of these 14 measures, ten core measurements and their own state plan and then must build these measures into any grant program they develop. This document defines the measures and indicates where you would get the supporting data such as FARS.

Another key document to review carefully before applying for a Highway Traffic Safety grant is the “Partnering with State Highway Safety Offices/tips and tactics for success.” This document may be found here, and can be downloaded to your desktop. This document defines the process for developing fundable traffic safety projects at both the state and federal levels.

Most state traffic safety grants mirror the federal grant. By following the advice from the Traffic Safety Performance Measures for States and Federal Agencies and the Partnering with State Highway Safety Offices” you will be on the right path for developing a solid highway safety program as well as a sound grant application. Each state will have its own Highway Traffic Safety Plan. Locate that plan and build your grant application in alignment with your state plan and your local data and needs.

Some examples of state Highway traffic grants may be found on PoliceOne. Check out the programs for Kansas, California, and Illinois.

You may also go to your own state website and search for Highway Safety Grant program to locate your state grant funding.

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