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AASHTO Journal

States Vie for New Federal Funding to Help End Distracted Driving

A new grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will distribute millions of dollars to states for distracted driving initiatives.

"Distracted driving is a persistent and growing epidemic on America's roads -- but there has also been incredible momentum in the states in recent years to pass laws that tackle the problem head on," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. "This new grant program will provide states that have distracted driving laws with important resources to help save lives and prevent injuries."

The $17.5 million grant program was authorized in MAP-21 for fiscal year 2013. The grant funding is only available to states that have enacted and are enforcing anti-distracted driving laws, meaning states that have comprehensive, primary law(s) prohibiting distracted driving behavior such as texting. Those states with secondary laws (which require law enforcement to witness a primary offense before enforcing the distraction law) do not qualify for the grant. An additional $5 million was also authorized in MAP-21 for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop advertising to support and encourage state enforcement of laws against distracted driving.

"These funds will allow us to build on the success we've seen in past campaigns that combined tough laws, strong enforcement, and ongoing public awareness efforts," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

States interested in applying for the distracted driving grant must do so within 45 days of today's Federal Register Notice. of its posting in the Federal Register, according to the guidelines provided in the notice. More details available at

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