NHTSA Readies for New Era of Highway Safety Grants

An interim final rule explains how separate grant programs, and some new ones Congress specified, will be awarded through a consolidated application process.

MAP-21, the federal highway funding law enacted in July 2012, made rolled existing highway safety grant programs into a single title, National Priority Safety Programs, and directed that NHTSA use a single application deadline for all of them and a consolidated application process.

NHTSA now has published an interim final rule to accomplish this, explaining how the consolidation will work. MAP-21 combines previous occupant protection grants into a single grant, and it added a new grant for state ignition interlock laws, a new distracted driving grant, and a new graduated driver's licensing grant.

The law continues to require each state to submit a highway safety plan annually for NHSTA's approval. These plans now provide for a data-driven traffic safety enforcement program to prevent traffic violations, crashes, and traffic deaths and injuries in areas most at risk for these, according to the rule.

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