Photo via Minesweeper/Wikipedia.

Photo via Minesweeper/Wikipedia.

The National Safety Council's Road to Zero Coalition has awarded its annual grants to support organizations with innovative concepts to make roadways safer and eliminate preventable roadway deaths.

The winners of the 2018 Safe System Innovation grants came from a pool of 81 applicants.

The grants are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the Department of Transportation, provide $1 million annually and $3 million for three years (2017-2019). The NSC is providing $1 million in-kind toward the program over three years. The Federal Highway Administration has pledged an additional $500,000 toward the program.

Officials at the Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated all grant applications. The 2018 grant recipients include the following eight organizations:

  • America Walks: Accelerating adoption of safer systems for all road users
  • Bicycle Colorado: Bicycle-friendly driver and confident commuting program
  • Center for Latino Progress - CPRF: Cooperative community crash reduction in Hartford, Conn.
  • City of Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics: Boston's safest driver
  • Lorain County Public Health: Lorain active transportation collaborative
  • National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago: Underutilized strategies in traffic safety
  • Texas A&M University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, in collaboration with Houston Methodist Hospital: A systems approach to reduce drowsy driving among night-shift nurses
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, in collaboration with Safe Kids Worldwide: Improving child restraint installation in rural America through interactive virtual presence

Actual amounts of the grants for each recipient vary and will be announced sometime next month, according to the NSC who manages the program.

Essentially, grant recipients reflect the coalition's mission of eliminating roadway deaths by 2050. Applicants must meet specific criteria in order to earn a Safe System Innovation grant. To qualify, an organization must clearly explain how its program will improve safety on the roadways, set a timeframe for the reduction, outline how the program will be evaluated and detail how the organization intends to reach its target audience, among other elements.

"We had an impressive pool of applicants, but the creativity and carefully considered strategies of the grant recipients set them apart. We look forward to working with them on our shared journey toward zero deaths," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Preliminary estimates indicate that some 40,000 people were killed in 2017 in motor vehicle accidents. The Safe System Innovation grants are one more way the coalition is working to end roadway fatalities.

The Road to Zero Coalition was launched in October 2016 as a joint effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and NSC.