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April 22nd, 2013

Budgetary Cuts to Affect Highway Safety

American lawmakers recently approved a plan that would cut as much as $50 million in highway safety grants made by the federal administration to states. That translates into significantly reduced funds for important highway safety campaigns, including those targeting drunk driving, motorcycle safety as well as distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grants are likely to be cut by approximately 9% from the current $550.3 million to just over $$501 million.

Any Houston auto accident lawyer would be concerned at the timing of the cuts. Statistics suggest that traffic fatality numbers are on their way up again. There was also an increase in the number of teenage drivers killed in accidents in the first half of 2012, compared to the first half of 2011. In fact, teen driver safety is one of those efforts that is likely to be affected by budget cuts, because much of the funds went to strengthening graduated driver licensing programs.

Auto safety advocates have already spoken out against the cuts. The Governors Highway Safety Association says that the cuts must be reversed, or we can expect an increase in auto accident-related deaths and injuries.

The state highway safety grant program is critical to many states that depend on the funding to implement important highway safety campaigns including those targeting intoxicated drivers. Initiatives targeting distracted driving, motorcycle safety, teen driver safety and occupant protection are also likely to be affected. For instance, Texas has seen an increase in seat belt usage rates through targeted campaigns, and those campaigns are likely to be affected because of the slashed funding.

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