Grants for Distracted Driving Received by Few States

by mphippen 20. September 2013 09:30

At the end of August this year Laser Technology sponsored a 'Webinar' discussing the importance of grant writing. Jeff Merriman was our guest and led the discussion based on writing successful grants totaling $13.5 million in federal and state grants since 2005. He's very good!

In the discussion Jeff stressed the importance of qualifying for the right grant. But the very first thing an agency should do is register with S.A.M. (System for Award Management), obtain a DUNS number, and actively participate in the NIMS program. All these have to be completed before you could even apply.

That said, one would think our state legislators would have a solid grasp of how the government conducts itself. From the local DMV to the unemployment line, all t's must be crossed and each and every i will be dotted before the task is called complete. Unfortunately some state lawmakers failed to consider this.

In an article featured in (Asbury Park Press) it featured the signature initiative of the former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, to encourage state legislators to pass primary anti-texting laws making texting while driving illegal and carry a stiff fine. All state GHSO offices joined in the lobbying efforts with the national office proudly announcing that 38 states had jumped on the bandwagon with millions of grant dollars available. However, with the best of intentions and a bit red faced, it didn't quite turn out that way.

"The assumption (there's that word) was if you had a texting ban and it was primary, you would qualify," says Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. "Thirty-eight states have primary laws. I would have expected 30 or so to qualify." Instead only seven states managed to write laws that were concise and written without nebulous banal language subject to interpretation. NHSTA awarded 5.6 million dollars to Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Guam. Congratulations on doing it right!

The typical mistake most legislative bodies made was similar to Kentucky's law which states drivers can't legally text while "a motor vehicle is in motion" allowing the driver to text while at a stop light etc… North Carolina thought they were in good shape passing their law in 2009. But it also allows texting while the vehicle is stopped and is specific to cell phones only, leaving out other devices. Other well intentioned laws contained definitions of "Texting" that applied to SMS (Short Message Service) texting but left out activities like browsing the web while driving.

Let's hope the 31 states that didn't qualify amend their laws to eliminate the loopholes and qualify for the next round of grants! There's too much at stake here. The documented cases of fatalities, injuries, and property damage due to distracted driving continue to rise at an alarming rate. The technology is available NOW in the form of TruCam, PicoDigiCam, and SpeedCapture to implement an aggressive and distracted driving campaign with high resolution video and stills that are court ready!

So, please Mr. & Mrs. Lawmaker, pay attention to the details; we know that is your intent. Let's use solid language that absolutely defines "Distracted Driving" removing all doubt and doubletalk. Someone's life is at stake, it may even be your own.

Give us a call at 1-800-OWN-A-LTI or email and let us demonstrate how LTI’s family of lasers can mitigate this dangerous behavior in your community.

Read the article, "Distracted Driving Grants Elude Many States".

Watch the Webinar video recording on Writing Grants for Traffic Safety Equipment.

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