Idaho will receive about $208,000 in federal funds to help
combat drunk driving. A total of $22 million is being awarded
among the states, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y.
Mineta announced earlier this week.
The federal grants are used to implement highway safety programs
at the state and local levels. Idaho receives Section
410 funds for alcohol-impaired driving prevention programs.
The money can be used for activities such as enforcement of
impaired driving laws, public information campaigns, and training
to law enforcement officers.
This funding will help Idaho continue the fight against
impaired driving, said Lance Johnson, ITD Office of
Highway Safety (OHS) Manager. Weve made progress
with the You Drink, You Drive, You Lose campaign,
but there is more work to do.
The greatest tragedy is that deaths due to impaired
driving-related crashes are preventable.
While the number of deaths resulting from alcohol-related
motor vehicle crashes has decreased in recent years, alcohol
and drugs remain significant contributing factors in motor
vehicle crashes nationwide. Last year, impaired drivers were
responsible for more than 17,400 fatalities, 258,000 reported
injuries and an estimated 1.5 million arrests.
In Idaho, close to 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each
year. In 2002, there were 97 deaths and more than 1,100 injuries
related to impaired driving, according to OHS.
The federal grants were authorized by the Transportation
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and continued under
the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004.
Thirty-six states have complied with the requirements of
the Section 410 program. A state becomes eligible for an incentive
grant by meeting Congressionally-specified criteria, leading
to tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws or evidence of
the states effectiveness in cracking down on drunk driving.