Maryland: Maryland agencies, advocates receive $12.5 million to encourage roadway safety

Maryland police and roadway safety advocates won $12.5 million in federal grants to encourage safe driving.

Following a 17 percent rise in roadway deaths in Maryland in 2015, the federal government has awarded more than $12.5 million in grant money to police departments and road safety advocates in the state to encourage better driving habits and reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the state, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday.

The more than 80 separate grants will be used to prevent impaired, aggressive and distracted driving; encourage the use of seat belts; increase motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist safety efforts; fund child passenger safety fitting stations; fund safety-related law enforcement operations; and improve Maryland's traffic data systems.

"The safety and security of Marylanders is our top priority and this vital funding will help strengthen our efforts to reduce traffic fatalities and save lives," Hogan said in a statement. "Dangerous, impaired, and distracted driving puts everyone at risk, and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure safety on our roads."

The money can only be used for traffic safety activities, and the grants allocated based on crash data for each county and/or organization that applied for funding, according to the governor's announcement. The organizations and local agencies are working together on the Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan, an effort to reduce roadway fatalities by half in the next decade.

Most of the awards went to police departments for enforcement measures.

The Maryland State Police, which patrols the state's highways, received a quarter of the grant money, more than $3.1 million, and another $3.8 million was earmarked for statewide traffic safety initiatives.

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