Highway Safety Grant Programs
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one of 11 agencies within the Department of Transportation and is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. NHTSA sets and enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and equipment. NHTSA provides grants to State governments and these grants enable States to conduct effective highway safety programs.
The Highway Safety Act of 1966 created a partnership among Federal, State, and local governments to improve and expand the Nation’s highway safety activities. Every State, U. S. territory, and Indian Nation along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico has an agency responsible for coordinating its highway safety programs.
The Office of Regional Operations and Program Delivery (ROPD) is one of two offices within the NHTSA’s Office of Traffic Injury Control and employs almost 100 people both in its Washington, DC, headquarters office and in its 10 Regional Offices. ROPD administers NHTSA’s grant programs, which is over $500 million annually. The 10 Regional offices deliver valuable highway safety support to States. The regional offices help States identify their highway safety problems using data, evaluate safety programs and activities, provide technical assistance to State program managers and training on a variety of programmatic subjects.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), enacted on July 6, 2012, restructured and made changes to NHTSA’s highway safety grant programs. MAP-21 specifies a single application deadline for all highway safety grants and emphasizes the requirement that all States have a performance-based highway safety program designed to reduce traffic crashes and the resulting deaths, injuries and property damage. Under Section 402, NHTSA distributes State and community grant funds to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Territories and the Bureau of Indian Affairs based on a statutory formula. These grants support highway safety plans, provide start-up money for new programs and give direction to existing programs. Under Section 405, NHTSA awards grants for occupant protection, State traffic safety information systems, impaired driving countermeasures, distracted driving, motorcyclist safety and State graduated driver licensing laws.
Prior to the enactment of MAP-21, NHTSA provided grants under the authority of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible Transportation Equitable Act for the 21St Century: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) from 2005-2012; Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) from 1998-2005. Information about these two authorization periods can be found in our archives section.
SAFETEA-LU Annual Reports