Safety Organizations Say Changes in Federal Grant Programs Would Encourage States to Pass Strong Impaired Driving, Graduated Licensing and Distracted Driving Laws

​Washington, D.C. – Six national organizations --leaders in traffic safety and advocacy – are pushing for changes to transportation safety programs in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill to provide additional funding to states that pass tougher traffic safety laws.

AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Governors Highway Safety Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council and Safe Kids Worldwide have developed improvements to the grant qualification criteria aimed to encourage more states to enact optimal laws that reduce impaired driving, distracted driving and teen driving-related crashes. We urge the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to adopt our recommended changes, which were developed after careful analysis of current regulations, laws and data that have proven to save lives.  These modifications should provide meaningful incentives that will more effectively encourage state legislatures to act, leading to the passage of strong laws which will make roads and highways safer for all motorists.

We applaud the leadership of these Committees for establishing the incentive grant programs in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Pub. L. 112-141).  However, several of the qualification provisions coupled with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) interpretations of qualification criteria have limited the number of states receiving incentive grant funding. Under the current grant criteria, only a handful of states qualified for these incentive grants in the current fiscal year. By clarifying some of the provisions and including some specific changes, states that enact the most critical traffic safety improvements should be able to qualify for the funding they need to effect real and sustained change.   

More than 35,000 people are needlessly killed each year in car crashes. According to preliminary NSC estimates, fatalities are 11 percent higher this year than they were during the same period in 2014. It will take coordinated efforts and leadership by our elected officials to reduce these deaths.  We look forward to collectively working with Congress to make our roads safer.

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