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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 9, 2010
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Governor Announces $17.7 Million in Highway Safety Grants
Traffic Fatalities Declining in Virginia

RICHMOND - Governor Robert F. McDonnell announced the award of more than $17.7 million in grant funds to support traffic safety programs in Virginia. The funds are allocated to Virginia from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Grant recipients are local, non-profit and state organizations that strive to reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries on the Commonwealth's roadways.

Traffic safety programs receiving grant funds work toward:

  • increasing safety belt and child safety seat usage
  • deterring impaired, aggressive and distracted driving
  • lowering motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities
  • promoting awareness of risks for teen and senior drivers

The Virginia Board of Transportation Safety made recommendations regarding the grant awards, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) Virginia Highway Safety Office will work with the grant recipients to ensure progress toward the goals of the state¿s safety grants program.

Thirty percent of the $17.7 million is being awarded to localities, 19 percent to non-profit organizations, 44 percent to state agencies and 7 percent to higher education entities. "Transportation safety grants help make Virginia communities safer,¿ said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton. "The goal of these programs is to save lives, as evidenced by the continued decline in traffic fatalities in Virginia."

As of July 30, preliminary data indicates traffic deaths for 2010 have decreased seven percent compared to fatalities for this same time period in 2009. There were 756 traffic fatalities in Virginia last year, the lowest number in one year since traffic deaths began being recorded in 1966. The number is nearly a 27 percent decrease in fatalities from the high of 1,026 road deaths in 2007. "Grant-funded enforcement efforts such as Operation Air, Land and Speed, Click It or Ticket, and Checkpoint Strikeforce helped contribute to the recent reduction in traffic deaths in Virginia," said Richard D. Holcomb, DMV Commissioner and the Governor's Highway Safety Representative.

"However, we must remain vigilant," Holcomb said. "We must not lose sight of the fact that according to the latest data, a crash occurs on our roadways every 4.3 minutes resulting in more than two lives being lost and 184 people being injured every day in Virginia."

For a list of federal Transportation Safety Grant recipients in Virginia, visit http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/safety/grants/2011_grant_awards.pdf.

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