(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that the Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO) has awarded over $22 million for statewide programming to improve traffic safety and reduce traffic-related fatalities.
Almost 180 grants were awarded to 140 local agencies (68 counties) to support the efforts of safety partners statewide and focus on traffic safety priority areas, including impaired driving, seat belt usage, distracted driving, youthful driving, and motorcycle safety.
“These grants are important because they provide additional resources to support the work of local law enforcement and other community agencies that have made traffic safety a priority,” said Governor DeWine. “By helping to educate drivers about risky driving behaviors and increasing enforcement, we can improve the safety of our roadways and protect both drivers and passengers.”
Programs that will be funded with traffic safety grants include:
- Statewide Programming ($12,597,922.88) – 27 grants were awarded to agencies to conduct education, enforcement, and awareness initiatives statewide to address traffic safety related priority areas.
- Impaired Driving Enforcement and Selective Traffic Enforcement Program ($5,049,074.90) – 94 grants were awarded to 57 sheriff’s offices and 37 police departments for overtime hours used to reduce traffic-related fatal crashes that involve impaired driving via alcohol or drugs, seat belt usage, speed, aggressive driving, motorcycles, and failure to yield.
- Countywide OVI Task Forces ($2,687,053.31) – 12 grants were awarded to agencies to conduct countywide high visibility enforcement, public awareness, and impaired driving initiatives.
- Safe Community programs ($2,315,888.71) – 45 countywide grants were awarded to communities to address traffic safety issues that involve impaired driving via alcohol or drugs, seat belt usage, distracted driving, youthful driving, and motorcycles. Ohio’s Safe Communities network uses local coalitions to deliver traffic safety messages and programs throughout the year at the local level.
The traffic safety grant funds were directed to OTSO from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The FFY 2023 competitive grant process solicited grant proposals from state agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, hospitals, political subdivisions, and other interested groups within selected Ohio counties and jurisdictions based upon the number of fatal crashes.
“Young drivers under the age of 24 were involved in 31% of all crashes in Ohio over the past 5 years,” said Felice Moretti, OTSO director. “Through nationally leading partnerships with youth organizations like Students Against Destructive Decisions and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, we are encouraging youthful driver safety to try and reduce the number of crashes among this age group.”
For a complete list of agencies receiving grants and the amounts, please visit https://publicsafety.ohio.gov/static/OTSO/doc/FFY2023-Award-List.xlsx
Governor DeWine is a strong supporter of traffic safety programs. Since taking office in 2019, Governor DeWine has launched several driver safety initiatives, including the creation of the Intersection Safety Program to improve the safety of 150 rural, urban, and suburban intersections across the state; the development of the “Ohio – Ready, Test, Drive!” program to help enhance the skills of new drivers; and the creation of several distracted driving corridors to reduce distracted driving in Ohio. He also created the Ohio Traffic Safety Council within the Ohio Department of Public Safety, increased traffic enforcement in highway work zones by the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Unit and awarded grant funding to several local courts to provide young drivers with more access to advanced driver training. Most recently, the Governor announced new localized traffic safety bulletins available online and for driving schools to help better prepare teens for driving.