Checklist for Partnering with
State Highway Safety Offices
1. Remember That Partnerships Are Two-way Streets
Successful partnerships don’t always have to involve the granting
of funds from the SHSO to an agency or organization. In a successful
partnership, both parties bring something to the partnership and both
benefit from it. Before you approach your SHSO, think about what you
can bring to the partnership and what assistance you need from the SHSO.
2. Contact Your SHSO
If you want to successfully partner with your SHSO, first familiarize yourself
with the SHSO in your State. Begin by looking at the web site of the State
agency. The site may describe the types of programs funded, the planning
time frame, the forms that need to be filled out, or other pertinent information.
Look over the State Highway Safety Plan and Annual Report and find out what
the State safety problems and priorities are. Attend State highway safety
conferences or talk to other agencies or organizations that have worked with
the SHSO in the past.
3. Ask About the State Planning Process
At State safety meetings or in your discussions with the SHSO staff, find out
when and how the State conducts its annual highway safety planning process.
What are the State’s identified highway safety problems? What are the
goals and objectives for each safety area? How does the SHSO allocate funds?
What outreach is there to agencies and organizations? Remember, however,
that there are limitations on what the SHSO can and cannot do.
4. Determine How Your Agency or Organization Can Help
Once you have a better understanding how the SHSO functions in your State,
think again about how you can help the State reach its safety goals. Are
there ways that you can help that do not involve funding?
5. If Appropriate, Apply for a Grant
If funding is needed, then work with the SHSO staff to apply for a grant. If
the SHSO has a pre-application conference, be sure and attend that conference.
Don’t forget that Federal highway safety grants are on a reimbursement
basis, so your organization and agency must have enough funding to start
the project. Also, Federal grants can only be used for new activities or
expansion of existing activities. Federal grants cannot be used to supplant
existing funding. Once the grant is awarded, plan to meet with the SHSO to
go over the rules and regulations that govern the grant.
6. Manage Your Grant Effectively
If you do receive a grant, make sure that you have adequate processes in place
to track the expenditure of Federal funds and report progress on the grant
activities. If you are having problems with the grant, be sure and contact
the SHSO right away before the problems become unmanageable.
7. Evaluate the Results
In your grant application, include a process for evaluating the results of
your project. Frequent evaluations throughout the project will alert you
to potential problems so you can make mid-course corrections. When all results
are in, share them with the SHSO and, together, report them to the media
and State legislature.
8. Continue Your Relationship With The SHSO
Even after your grant has expired, continue to communicate with the SHSO. Stay
abreast of developments in highway safety at the State and Federal levels.
Offer to work with the SHSO on major safety problems or emerging issues in