To improve traffic safety across California, the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency approved 274 state and local applicants to receive about $87 million in federally-funded traffic safety grants the Office of Traffic Safety administers. The grant-funded programs will help combat alcohol and drug-impaired driving, encourage seat belt and child safety seat usage, fight distracted driving and enhance law enforcement activities.
“These traffic safety grants will help save lives and improve public safety across California,” said Acting Secretary Brian Kelly. “These programs crack down on dangerous activities like texting and driving while also seeking to change behavior through public education and new research.”
New grants will also expand the number of local special prosecutors dedicated to alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases and fund new lab testing equipment and drug detection training to increase successful prosecution of alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases.
Several key grants will also seek to improve active transportation in California by combating recent increases in serious pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System will be expanded to include older adults, distracted walkers and victims of speeding. Free expert technical assistance and staff training in pedestrian and bicycle safety will be offered by the University of California to local communities. Grants will also support the California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages, a website that encourages and promotes safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized road users in California.
Other key statewide programs funded through these grants include:
- Department of Motor Vehicles research studies regarding substance abuse, fatal crashes and distracted driving.
- California Department of Public Health webinars to increase using booster seats and provide National Child Passenger Safety Technician certification courses.
- Expansing “It’s Up to All of Us,” a CDPH pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign.
- California Highway Patrol (CHP) distracted driving enforcement and public education campaigns.
- Specialized CHP driver drug detection training for law enforcement.
- CHP’s “Every 15 Minutes” high-school assembly program and sober graduation events.
- University of California research grants regarding motorcycle safety, seat belt usage, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
On July 1, the Business Transportation and Housing Agency will no longer exist and will become the Transportation Agency in accordance with the governor’s government reorganization plan signed into law in 2012. The new Transportation Agency will be responsible for transportation-related departments within the state: Caltrans, DMV, New Motor Vehicle Board, CHP, Board of Pilot Commissioners, California Transportation Commission, California High-Speed Rail and the Office of Traffic Safety.
The grant program begins Oct. 1. For more information, visit www.ots.ca.gov/.