Five States Win Grants for Programs Targeting Drowsy Driving

Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York will each receive $15,000 in funding. Eight states applied for the grants.

The Governors Highway Safety Association and The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. announced on May 16 the five states that are receiving grants to help them implement innovative campaigns to discourage drowsy driving. Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York will each receive $15,000 in funding. Eight states applied for the grants, in this third year of the organizations' program. A panel of issue experts reviewed all applications against a number of criteria and selected the winners.

The program equips states with resources needed to tackle the challenge of drowsy driving, with programs incorporating best practices identified by GHSA and NRSF. Programs in 2019 will utilize public awareness campaigns, virtual reality, and innovative partnerships to engage key audiences, they reported.

The winning states' planned activities include:

  • The Georgia Office of Highway Safety will partner with the Department of Agriculture to raise awareness of drowsy driving through a presence at the Georgia National Fair. GOHS also will produce additional materials to be distributed at other events and will share NRSF drowsy driving materials on a variety of media platforms.
  • The Iowa Departments of Transportation, Public Safety, Public Health, and the Iowa Insurance Division will expand on Zero Fatalities Iowa's "Don't let the Sleepyzzz get you" campaign from 2017, using virtual reality. Partnering with Iowa State University, Zero Fatalities Iowa will produce a 60- to 90-second virtual reality experience affirming that drowsy driving is not a game.
  • The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety will purchase wearable sleep measurement tools and software to assist research being conducted by the University of Minnesota's HumanFIRST Laboratory on the impact of sleep patterns and prolonged wakefulness on driver safety, working to improve both the understanding and the detection of driver fatigue nationwide.
  • The Nebraska Department of Transportation, Highway Safety Office will conduct a drowsy driving injury prevention initiative focused on education for young adult and senior drivers. The initiative includes four coordinated events covering seven counties, providing Drowsy Driving workshops to educate community partners about traffic safety concerns and address drowsy driving injury prevention.
  • The New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee will partner with the New York State Partnership against Drowsy Driving and Stony Brook University's School of Health Technology and Management to educate law enforcement personnel about the dangers of drowsy driving through a webinar.

"Drowsy driving continues to be a chronic and often overlooked issue on our nation's roadways," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "We are excited to continue this partnership with the National Road Safety Foundation to support innovative state approaches addressing this problem."

Michelle Anderson, director of operations for NRSF, said the winters "were chosen from an outstanding group of applicants dedicated to taking action against fatigued driving. NRSF is glad to provide this funding to support states as they work to keep drowsy drivers off the road."

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