WASHINGTON, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) are pleased to announce four states will receive grants to implement innovative drowsy driving prevention campaigns. Iowa, Maryland, Nevada and Tennessee will each receive $15,000 in funding. Twelve states applied for these grants. A panel of drowsy driving experts carefully reviewed all applications against a number of criteria and selected the winners.
This competitive grant program was developed to complement a 2016 GHSA report that provided recommendations for states to tackle the challenging problem of drowsy driving. The funds will equip states with the resources they need to implement many of the suggestions outlined in this report, including stepped-up public awareness, targeted outreach to high-risk groups and law enforcement training.
Specific planned state activities include the following:
- Iowa – Through its Zero Fatalities program, the Iowa Department of Transportation will develop a public awareness campaign that puts drowsy driving on par with drunk, drugged and distracted driving. Messages will be strategically placed at state-owned rest areas and on social media encouraging drivers to stop and take a rest. The Iowa DOT will amplify the message with its own resources, including Iowa's Zero Fatalities website and social media channels. Associated drowsy driving public outreach efforts include Snapchat filters, university partnerships and other Zero Fatalities materials.
- Maryland – The Maryland Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Office will focus its efforts on medical shift workers, a population at greater risk for drowsy driving. The program will include educational materials, a social media campaign, PowerPoint slide templates, an online quiz offering continuing education credit, and more.
- Nevada – The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety will provide training for law enforcement to help them better understand the science behind drowsy driving and equip them with the skills they need to recognize drowsy driving behavior, educate the public on the seriousness of the issue, and collect more comprehensive data on the number of traffic stops related to drowsy driving. The State will also develop educational material and a social media campaign to support additional public awareness.
- Tennessee – The Tennessee Highway Safety Office will engage with two demographic groups that are overrepresented in drowsy driving crashes: teens and truck drivers. By partnering with SADD Tennessee, the State will mobilize students to develop action plans to educate their peers and communities about the dangers of drowsy driving. And working through the Tennessee Trucking Foundation, Tennessee's Road Team Captains (professional truck drivers with remarkable driving records) will share drowsy driving prevention messages to the public across the state.
"Drowsy driving is an overlooked and underfunded issue in highway safety" said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "Yet our 2016 report found that tired drivers contribute to 328,000 crashes annually and cost society $109 billion a year. We appreciate The National Road Safety Foundation supporting these programs and expect that some may become models that others can replicate."
Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations for NRSF, noted, "Drowsy driving, along with many other causes of traffic crashes, is totally preventable. It is our hope that a greater awareness is raised through these state initiatives to encourage other states to do the same. Together we can minimize senseless tragedies on our roads."
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.
About The National Road Safety Foundation
The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries on our nation's roads by promoting safe driving awareness and lifelong education. NRSF produces FREE traffic safety programs on distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driving skills, pedestrian safety and a host of other safety issues. NRSF also sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org.
SOURCE The National Road Safety Foundation