Guide to NHTSA's 2011 grants

Applications that are consistent with state and federal plans will move quickly to the top of the list when funding decisions are being made

The Federal Accountability and Transparency Act, although somewhat cumbersome for many departments to comply with, has resulted in an abundance of information being made available on the internet about previously funded programs and plans for future funding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funding priorities for each state are generally located in their Highway Safety Plans and Annual Reports.

The purpose of a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is to identify the State's key safety needs and guide investment decisions to achieve significant reductions in highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The SHSP allows all highway safety programs in the State to work together in an effort to align and leverage its resources. It also positions the State and its safety partners to collectively address the State's safety challenges on all public roads. 

Below is a brief snapshot of the type of programs that are being funded through NHTSA grants.

In Arkansas, traffic safety programs are developed and implemented through cooperative and concentrated efforts among state, federal, local and some private-sector partners. These efforts are coordinated, implemented and supported by the Arkansas Highway Safety Office (AHSO, located within the Arkansas State Police).

To date, funding has been provided for training of law enforcement officers as well as prosecutors. The Victim Impact Panels are coordinated by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Overtime reimbursement and traffic enforcement related equipment has been provided to police departments that are conducting various traffic and safety details, while the implementation of DWI Court benefited from a grant to cover salaries, fringe benefits, in-state and out-of state travel and training, maintenance and operations, printing and administration expenses associated with start-up costs.

According to New York’s 2010 Highway Safety Plan, grant funds may be utilized to support the development and implementation of innovative enforcement strategies by local agencies including high visibility enforcement programs, such as regional saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and organized statewide mobilizations, as well as participation in the national impaired driving mobilizations.

Officer training programs such as the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing/Drug Recognition Expert (SFST/DRE) and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (A.R.I.D.E) training for law enforcement officers, the Drug Impairment Training for Education Professionals (DITEP), and training for prosecutors of DWI cases will also continue to be provided.

In Florida, all program areas funded with grant funds are required to have an evaluation method that will allow assessment of the funded program’s level of success in reducing fatalities and injuries. Grant application for Police Traffic Services should focus on these four major program related categories:

1. Resource Management: equipment for law enforcement agencies to implement traffic safety programs and enforce traffic safety laws. (Note: Grant funding is not intended to replace an agency’s existing equipment).

2. Training: for law enforcement officers and legal professionals to attend training that will increase knowledge and skills and motivate and enhance professionalism and effectiveness.

3. Traffic Law Enforcement: “seed” money for law enforcement agencies to increase traffic enforcement staff to address apparent traffic safety issues in their area that cannot be addressed with current staff levels. May also include funding for Overtime enforcement, if necessary.

4. Communication Program: for public awareness and education regarding traffic enforcement services.
Items eligible for funding under this category may include: registration fees and equipment for training. Travel expenses and per diem to attend training activities are not normally funded.

Remember, each state has its own Highway Traffic Safety Plan. Locate that plan and build your grant application in alignment with your state plan. Take the time to review applications or annual reports that summarize previously funded projects.

If the information is not available on the internet, contact your state’s Department of Transportation to ask for a copy.

Applications that are consistent with state and federal plans will move quickly to the top of the list when funding decisions are being made. Be informed and Be Prepared.

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