THSO awards $18 million in federal grant funds for highway safety

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security joins with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to announce law enforcement agencies and partners across Tennessee will be awarded federal grant funds to support local highway safety initiatives.

Approximately 400 grants exceeding $18 million will be distributed statewide from the NHTSA through the THSO for the 2017-2018 Federal Fiscal Year.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is one of many local departments to receive grants. More than $60,000 will go toward police traffic services and alcohol enforcement.

“You really need grants in today’s world,” Sheriff John Mehr said. “The equipment cost is high, and you know it’s not like you can buy a piece of equipment and it’s going to last 10 years or five years.”

Other departments in West Tennessee are receiving grants for things like high visibility enforcement.

“This really allows us to enhance some of our DUI enforcement and the visibility out there on the road to concentrate on important violations such as safety laws, such as seat belts, texting while driving,” Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said.


The grants are not limited to just law enforcement. The Jackson-Madison County General Hospital received a $40,000 grant for driver education. It’s for a program called Operation Safe Roads (Reducing Older Adult Deaths). The goal of the program is to reduce the number of adult deaths on the highway in the 65 and older age group.

“It’s a medical assessment that we do in clinic, and we actually get on the road with the individual as well to make sure they are safe,” West Tennessee Healthcare Occupational Therapist Cody Stovall said.

West Tennessee officials said Madison County was No. 1 in the state for crashes involving people 65 and older in 2014. That’s more than Memphis and Nashville.

“Highway safety enforcement and education initiatives are critical components to preventing highway fatalities,” said Commissioner David W. Purkey of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “We cannot lower statewide fatality numbers without strong partnerships within our local communities. That is why these funds are so important.”

To view the full list of grant awards and recipients, click here.

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