The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) today announced the award of over $67 million for 198 traffic safety grants to agencies and communities across the state.
The new grants will be used to build upon the efforts that have seen dramatic declines in deaths and injuries on California’s roadways in recent years.
The funds, which come from federal sources, will be administered by the Office of Traffic Safety, a part of the State’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
The grants give state, county and local agencies the funding to combat impaired driving, encourage seat belt and child safety seat usage, initiate a statewide distracted driving campaign, enhance emergency medical services response, promote motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle safety programs, and enforce aggressive driving and other traffic laws aimed at saving lives.
"We have come a long way in California in the last four years," said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "Every category of traffic fatality and injury has seen remarkable improvements. These grants will keep that momentum going."
California’s roadway death toll today stands at a level not seen since 1950, despite huge increases in population and miles driven since then. This is a direct result of enforcement, engineering, emergency medical services, education and the coordinated efforts resulting from the State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Many grants keep fundamental activities operating, such as DUI patrols, strategies targeting repeat DUI offenders, seat belt enforcement, and expanded teen education programs such as the Every 15 Minutes and Real DUI Trials in Schools.
At the same time, innovative efforts and special emphasis programs will be funded:
— Target felony and repeat DUI offenders with special Vertical
Prosecution programs to increase conviction rates, and intensive
probation supervision programs to reduce recidivism.
— Provide prosecutors and law enforcement with assistance to file and
successfully prosecute drug impaired drivers.
— Tackle the emerging serious issue of distracted driving with programs
aimed at both teen and adult drivers.
— Give assistance to cities with bicycle and pedestrian problems.
— Fund Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap operations at retail alcohol outlets
to reduce youth access to alcohol.
— Initiate a Designated Driver program targeting women.
"These grant programs are aimed squarely at saving lives and futures," said Murphy. "They will keep California’s traffic safety vision on track and moving ahead ‘Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts’. There are no acceptable levels."
Today’s announcement includes grants to nine regions of the state. Summaries of the awards can be found on the OTS website at List of 2010 Grantees by Region.