Local agencies receive more than $350K in highway safety funds

Tennessee officials last week announced $21.1 million in grants to Tennessee agencies to support highway traffic safety efforts, with more than $350,000 designated for local law enforcement agencies.

The grants include about $180,000 to the Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office for driving-under-the-influence abatement and prosecution, and roughly $40,000 to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department for reducing fatalities in the county. The Oak Ridge Police Department received about $25,000 for alcohol saturation and checkpoints.

The grants to 370 agencies in Tennessee were announced last week by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole.

Other local law enforcement agencies that received funding include the Clinton, Lake City, Norris, and Oliver Springs police departments. They each received $5,000 for high visibility enforcement.

The Roane County Sheriff’s Department received three grants, one for about $70,000 for saturation patrols and checkpoints, a second for $18,000 for a network coordinator, and a third for $5,000 for high visibility enforcement.

The funds support the mission of the GHSO, a press release said.

“The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination, and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations,” the release said.

“Having safe roads is critical to our mission of making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Haslam said. “As we continue our work with local and state agencies, these grants support these important efforts to make our roadways safer.”

The press release said there are multiple elements that contribute to a safe roadway system. Some of those aspects are an accurate traffic safety data collection and analysis system, well-trained and well-equipped law enforcement personnel, and effective emergency medical and trauma systems. A major part of roadway safety is educating motorists about laws and good driving behaviors.

“These grants help fund a variety of safety initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment, Specialized Impaired Driving prosecutors and child passenger safety training,” Schroer said. “These grants will make a difference and help save lives.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to the GHSO. The grants, totaling 434 for the 2014 funding cycle, were awarded to 370 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need. Each year, the GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds. Applications are reviewed and scored by the GHSO and external highway safety advocates. The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards.

“Grants awarded by our office are provided in areas of need,” Poole said. “Statistics show our problem areas and we strive to put the funding where it will be most effective. We are dedicated to saving lives across Tennessee and pledge to work with grantees statewide to accomplish our mission.”For more information about the GHSO, visit the website at www.tntrafficsafety.org.

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