Did You Know?

A Federal-State Partnership for Road Safety

The foundation of NHTSA’s efforts to help Americans drive, ride, and walk safely is our work with our safety partners, particularly the States and law enforcement agencies across the country. While keeping Americans safe on the road is a national challenge, the States lead the way. They annually evaluate their specific road safety challenges and outline strategies to help reduce deaths and injuries. 

Not all States have the same laws addressing road safety, and rural States may face different safety challenges than those that are more urban. NHTSA’s 10 Regional Offices work with your State’s leaders to develop highway safety plans that address the top issues in your community. That includes helping educate Americans about the dangers of drunk driving, failing to wear seat belts, driving while distracted, and other risky behaviors. Those messages are backed up by law enforcement agencies, who work every day to make sure we’re all obeying the rules of the road that protect us.

With the States leading the way and crafting safety plans that meet their specific needs, they’ve achieved success against some of the top road safety challenges. Here are just a few examples of the progress several States achieved based on 2015 road safety data:

  • Illinois achieved a 94 percent seat belt use rate, one of the Nation’s highest.
  • New Jersey cut drunk-driving fatalities by 31 percent.
  • New Mexico reduced motor vehicle deaths by 29 percent in rural areas.
  • Texas cut traffic deaths in urban areas by 30 percent.
  • Utah reduced speeding-related traffic deaths by 35 percent.

And there are success stories like these all across America.

While the States set their priorities to meet their specific needs, the Federal Government supports their efforts with roughly $600 million annually. These national investments, coupled with locally driven highway safety solutions, have helped to reduce motor vehicle deaths by 25 percent in the past decade and by almost one-third since 1966, when legislation was enacted establishing NHTSA’s predecessor agency.

NHTSA has worked to further support the States by streamlining grant applications to reduce paperwork and to increase everyone’s focus on safer roads. The agency is also helping support efforts in many communities to make roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians as Americans increasingly choose these healthy and convenient ways to get around.

All of this progress is built on the strong foundation of our Federal-State road safety partnership. Whether you drive, ride, or walk, NHTSA is committed to working hand-in-hand with your State to make roads safer.