ALBANY, NY --- New York Gov. David A. Paterson announced the state will receive more than $31 million in grants for highway safety programs across the state.

The federal highway safety grants will be distributed by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) to nearly 750 state, local and not-for-profit agencies to conduct highway and traffic safety initiatives. These programs are aimed at driver education, new enforcement efforts to combat drinking and driving, passenger restraint enforcement, prevention of aggressive driving and excessive speeding, and bicycle and pedestrian safety, among others.

"In 2007, New York State had the safest year in history on our highways, as well as the highest seatbelt compliance rate on record due to the commitment of all traffic safety partners across the state," said Paterson. "The federal funding announced today will provide necessary resources to continue the successful implementation of driver safety initiatives, child passenger programs and traffic enforcement details to combat the many issues challenging motorists across the state."

The grants fall under the following categories:

-- Buckle-Up New York (BUNY): Programs designed to provide grantees with necessary resources to conduct primary seat belt enforcement and education

-- Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP): Funding initiatives by law enforcement to target individual traffic safety issues such as speed, aggressive driving and red light running in high crash corridors

-- Child Passenger Safety: Provides for child passenger safety education, car seat checks, the distribution of seats and child seat fitting stations

-- Agency Programs: Resources allocated to state, local and not-for-profit programs that cover additional traffic safety undertakings through education, enforcement, engineering, training or technology.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner David J. Swarts, who chairs the GTSC, said: "Our recent highway safety achievements demonstrate that these programs are working well and achieving intended results. The GTSC will be working closely with this year's grantees to ensure we are continuing to develop and implement new and innovative approaches to help make our roadways even safer."

The programs receiving funding this year are integrated into the state's overall traffic safety strategy and are part of the GTSC highway safety plan that is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The initiatives and programs are aimed at the "Four E's" of highway safety: education, enforcement, engineering and evaluation. To be successful, grant applications must incorporate one or more of the "Four E's" and be consistent with the overall state highway safety plan.

In 2008, the GTSC awarded more than $24.8 million for nearly 700 projects. This year, the GTSC will distribute $31.4 million for 748 highway safety initiatives to address a variety of issues identified by the committee.

The GTSC coordinates traffic safety activities across the state and is composed of 12 member state agencies with missions related to transportation and safety. The head of each agency acts as that agency’s official representative to the committee, and the commissioner of DMV serves as the chair.