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Highway safety grants awarded

Contributed

The University of Alabama and Auburn University are fierce rivals in sports, but they along with the Alabama Department of Public Health, agree when it comes to safe driving in Alabama.

The two universities along with the Alabama Department of Public Health are using $2.28 million in grants to gather traffic safety data to help pinpoint the causes and locations of crashes on Alabama’s roads. That data will be used for messages that urge Alabama drivers to obey traffic safety laws including using seatbelts and child restraint seats as well as not drinking and driving or driving while distracted.

“With two of our most prominent universities working collaboratively to save lives and prevent injuries on our highways, this effort is a win for all Alabama,” Ivey said. “I am very grateful for the efforts of both universities and the Department of Public Health to encourage all drivers to be safer while on our state’s roads.”

The University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety provides data to determine where crashes are occurring and the causes. The information, much of it collected by the state Department of Public Health, also examines factors such as seatbelt use, distracted driving and sobriety. Law enforcement agencies use that information to increase patrols and monitor traffic in high-crash zones. UA’s CAPS is using grant funds totaling $948,018 while Public Health is using grant funds of $260,000 to continue conducting research and collecting data.

Auburn University’s Media Production Group produces outreach and awareness campaigns geared toward safe driving. Many of those promotions are tied to national highway safety campaigns like “Click it or Ticket” seatbelt enforcement or “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving crackdown and are conducted around major holidays, like Labor Day, when more people are likely to be travelling. Auburn will use $1.02 million in grant funds to continue supporting these national campaigns in Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.

“ADECA is pleased to join Gov. Ivey in supporting the efforts of these universities and state department to increase highway safety in our state.” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “Our partnership with all three institutions has been a vital part of increasing safety on our roads and we’re proud to see it continue.”
Gov. Ivey notified Jennifer Camp, UA vice president for Research, James Weyhenmeyer, AU vice president for Research and Economic Development and Dr. Scott Harris, state Health Officer, that the grants had been approved.