Congress passed a new bill earlier this year to streamline the auto safety grant process. These grants provide resources to states to fund DUI and distracted driving prevention programs, occupant protection, motorcycle safety, and data collection, among other programs.
However, because of budget cuts, the programs also took a huge financial hit – $120 million, to be exact. All but $25 million has been cut from the grant programs.
That means the new programs proposed in the bill cannot be funded.
The Governors Highway Safety Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving called on Congress on Sept. 25th to support the new programs proposed in the bill, which means reinstating the grant programs.
“Unless the CR takes into account the revised priority highway safety grant program structure authorized under MAP-21, as much as $120 million in essential traffic safety grant funds could be denied to the states for six months,” the two organizations said in a statement. “The result would be devastating for highway safety, particularly at a time when preliminary government statistics show that highway fatalities are starting to increase after years of declines.”
In 2011, traffic deaths fell 1.7% – the lowest number since 1949. The US has enjoyed 7 years of steady declines in auto accident and vehicle deaths. However, while a rise in auto accident deaths should be expected, the rise was higher than anticipated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported on Friday, September 28th, that auto accident and traffic deaths in the first three months of 2012 jumped 13.5% – the highest number of auto accident and traffic deaths since 2008.
This is the second-largest quarterly jump in auto accident and traffic deaths since the NHTSA began tracking quarterly statistics in 1975. It is the biggest jump since 1979.
The NHTSA estimates that 7,630 people died in auto accidents and vehicle crashes in the first quarter of 2012. In the same quarter last year, 6,720 people died in auto accidents.
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, you will face several challenges. Insurance claims can be complicated, and you may have suffered physical injury in the accident. If you are not at fault, you may be entitled to compensation to help you while you recover from your injuries. The attorneys at Strom Law, LLC can help. We offer free, confidential consultations, so contact us today.803.252.4800.