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Federal Funds Available for Distracted Driving Programs

April 13, 2016

Did you know that funds are available from the federal government for states that enact distracted driving legislation? The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) wants you to know that H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (otherwise known as the FAST Act), authorizes funds for highway safety programs that include distracted driving initiatives.

Section 2005, Article 4 of the bill specifically provides funding for distracted driving legislation, stating, “In each fiscal year, 8.5 percent of the funds provided under this section shall be allocated among States that adopt and implement effective laws to reduce distracted driving.”

While there is specific language that spells out the details of eligibility, in general, states that are interested in applying for these grant monies need to: make distracted driving awareness a part of the driver’s license examination; pass legislation making it illegal to text while driving; and pass legislation that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 (or on a learner’s permit) from using a wireless communications device while driving.

These grant funds can be used in a variety of ways, including public advertising campaigns that explain the dangers of texting while driving, traffic signs that warn motorists about distracted driving laws, or for the costs related to enforcing distracted driving laws.

Too often state legislatures are reluctant to pass new legislation if there is a perceived cost, and these grant funds help offset any costs states would incur by passing distracted driving legislation.

If your state is considering or currently debating distracted driving legislation, the MRF encourages you to make the appropriate legislators aware of these grant funds, as their availability can help sway a legislature towards passage of such laws that ultimately protect not just motorcyclists but all roadway users.

Read the full text of the FAST Act here:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/22/text#toc-H193364E12BE847F39AF58BF007E245F4