WASHINGTON – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a new grant program that will provide $17.5 million to states that have laws banning distracted driving in fiscal-year 2013.

Congress authorized this funding in the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (i.e. MAP-21). Under the MAP-21 Act, Congress also authorized an additional $5 million for NHTSA to develop paid advertising to support efforts by state law enforcement to enforce distracted driving laws. Once MAP-21 is published in the Federal Register, states will have 45 days to apply for the grants.

This announcement dovetails with a number of public service announcements (PSAs) regarding the dangers of distracted driving. These PSAs are being released through NHTSA, the Ad Council, Fox Home Entertainment, and the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies, are part of the national “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” campaign that launched in October 2011.

This announcement follows the release of NHTSA's "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving," which outlines a plan for lawmakers, safety organizations, and others to combat this practice.