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Four States Win Grants to Battle Drowsy Driving

June 02, 2017

Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Four states — Iowa, Maryland, Nevada and Tennessee — have each won a $15,000 grant to implement drowsy driving prevention campaigns this year.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) awarded the grants. GHSA announced the winners.

Twelve states applied for the grants, GHSA said. A panel of drowsy driving experts reviewed the 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 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, GHSA said.

Planned state activities include:

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, and an online quiz offering continuing education credit.

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. Funds will also be used to educate the public on the seriousness of the issue and to collect more data on the number of traffic stops related to drowsy driving. Additionally, Nevada will develop educational materials and a social media campaign to promote public awareness.

Tennessee — The Tennessee Highway Safety Office will engage with two demographic groups at a greater risk for 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 will share drowsy driving prevention messages to the public across the state. These Road Team Captains are professional truck drivers with exceptional driving records. 

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