Virginia Highway Safety Office News ReleasesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Governor's Press Secretary
(804) 393-9406 (cell)
Department of Motor Vehicles
Governor Kaine Announces $13 Million In Transportation Safety Grants
Grants support a variety of transportation safety projects
RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the award of more than $13 million in grants to local, state, and non-profit programs that support transportation safety. The grants, primarily comprised of federal funds, include $2.6 million in local matching funds.
In recent years, Virginia has typically seen a decline in the number of people killed in DUI-related crashes in Virginia - with a 14-percent decline between 2003 and 2005. In addition, seat belt usage increased to 79.9 percent during a June 2007 survey, an improvement from 78.6 percent in 2006, according to the Virginia Transportation Research Council at the University of Virginia.
However, Virginia currently is experiencing an increase in the number of traffic fatalities: as of July 25, 2007, preliminary data indicates 544 fatalities so far this year, compared to 527 fatalities during the same period in 2006. Approximately half of the fatalities this year were not wearing seatbelts.
"These programs will help us address our shared goal of reducing the number of deaths and injuries in traffic crashes," Governor Kaine said. "These grants allow localities, state agencies, and non-profit organizations to support programs that address a wide range of transportation safety needs that make our communities safer."
Funds will support programs designed to increase the use of safety belts and child safety seats, deter aggressive and impaired driving, and promote awareness of risks for both teen and older drivers. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office works with safety partners across the state to ensure yearly progress toward measurable goals in the safety grants program.
On a quarterly basis, the agency evaluates and provides feedback on the grant recipients' performance. Future funding requests are based, in part, on progress toward performance targets.
"Virginia's safety partners demonstrate their dedication to reducing needless deaths and injuries resulting from traffic crashes," said DMV Commissioner D. B. Smit, who serves as the Governor's representative for highway safety. "Our goal is to target limited resources to projects that produce the biggest impact on saving lives."
In total, 263 grants were approved and awarded to sixteen state agencies and 247 non-profit organizations and localities. For a list of recipients, please visit http://www.dmvnow.com/webdoc/pdf/safety/safetygrantawards2008.pdf.
For more information regarding grant opportunities with DMV, visit http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/safety/grants/announcement.asp.