Local agencies receive traffic-safety grants

Local municipalities and not-for-profit agencies were among 502 programs throughout New York State to receive a total of over $37.2 million in federal highway safety grants.

The projects awarded funding focused on three types of driver safety initiatives: highway safety, child passenger safety, and police traffic services.

These agencies were among those in Albany County receiving grants:

— Albany County Department of Health received $25,000 for its See and Be Seen program;

— Albany County District Attorney got $131,650 for highway safety;

—Albany County Sheriff’s Office received $18,700 for police traffic service;

— Albany County Traffic Safety Board got $35,000 for a child passenger safety program;

— Albany County Traffic Safety Board also got $80,000 for its Traffic Safety Through Education program;

— Bethlehem Police Department received $26,490 for police traffic service;

— Guilderland Police Department got $21,350 for police traffic service.

The funding, which is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is administered by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This year, $37.2 million was awarded to projects that focused on three types of driver safety initiatives:

— $32.1 million for Highway Safety Grants to cover education initiatives, traffic records improvements, training, crash reconstruction, and railroad crossing safety. In addition, the programs cover distracted driving, slow moving vehicles, and drowsy and impaired driving. These initiatives focus on protecting child passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, wheel-sport athletes, motorcyclists, teens and older drivers;

— $2.6 million for Child Passenger Safety for safety education, training for technicians, conducting car seat checks statewide, operating a car-seat distribution program for low-income families, and establishing permanent child safety seat fitting stations; and

— $2.5 million for Police Traffic Services to target dangerous driver behaviors. This includes participation in the national Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization and other enforcement initiatives aimed at preventing unsafe speed, aggressive and distracted behaviors, and occupant restraint enforcement.

According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, New York’s seat-belt compliance rate has consistently remained at or above 90 percent since 2010. In a 2019 survey, drivers and front seat passengers were observed wearing seatbelts 94 percent of the time, the highest level in state history. The national average for seatbelt compliance is 90.7 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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