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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government


October 15, 1997

NHTSA 56-97
Wednesday, October 15, 1997
Contact: Kathryn Henry
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mortimer L. Downey today announced the award of $2.4 million in discretionary grants to eight projects to substantially reduce alcohol-related fatalities.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D. joined Deputy Secretary Downey in announcing the grants at a Partners in Progress conference in Vienna, Va. Partners in Progress is a public/private partnership with the goal of reducing alcohol-related fatalities to 11,000 by 2005, a 37 percent reduction in the current fatality rate.

"Business as usual won't get us to our goal. We've made the easy gains. What we need now are new, creative ideas to help lower the numbers," Downey said. "These eight projects clearly represent a fresh approach in our efforts to make significant reductions in impaired driving."

The following are recipients of grants awarded through NHTSA's Innovative Alcohol Cooperative Agreement Program:

Organization: National Public Services Research Institute, Landover, Md.
Grant funds: $206,958
Project Title: Safety Economics Resource Center: Impaired Driving Legislation Component. This project will provide states with specific impaired driving crash costs, benefit-cost ratios, and best practice approaches to applying cost data when promoting/educating for legislative change. The NPSRI will collaborate with the Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety, Washington, D.C., on this project.

Organization: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Irving, Texas
Grant funds: $271,019
Project Title: Regional Impaired Driving Public Policy Training Institute Workshops This project will provide states with advanced public policy training on impaired driving legislative issues. The result will be a network of highly motivated and throughly trained individuals that will share methods and skills to assist in the passage of impaired driving legislation.

Organization: Traffic Injury Research, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Harrisburg, Pa.
Grant funds: $282,925
Project Title: Smart Card Technology. This project will examine the effectiveness of the smart card technology (magnetic stripes on drivers' licenses) as a means of providing alcohol retailers with a simple, efficient and reliable system for verifying the age of the customer as well as the authenticity of their identification. The overall objective of the project is to reduce alcohol-related crashes involving youths by reducing sales of alcoholic beverages to persons under age 21.

Organization: Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle
Grant funds: $397,114
Project Title: Health Professionals Impact DWI. This project will educate health care providers about addressing alcohol abuse at the individual patient level and at the community level. At the patient level, the project will promote the "S.I.R." (screening, intervention, referral) approach. At the community level, the project will involve health professionals to act as advocates for effective DWI legislation. The project focuses on the Pacific Northwest, which accounts for more than one-quarter of the land mass of the U.S.

Organization: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, Charlotte, N.C.
Grant funds: $470,752
Project Title: Identification and Referral of Impaired Drivers through Emergency Department Protocols This project will address the need to detect individuals at high risk for DWI and refer those patients to appropriate treatment sources. Treatment in the emergency department for motor vehicle crash injury may serve as a unique opportunity for intervention. If these individuals can be detected, a formal protocol for intervention and referral at the time of treatment for injury may raise the proportion of high-risk patients who receive treatment for alcohol abuse/ alcohol dependency, and lower the risk for subsequent motor vehicle crash.

Organization: Mid America Research Institute (Winchester, Mass.
Grant funds: $342,955
Project Title: DUI Court. This project will focus on "hard core" DUI repeat offenders in Maricopa County, Ariz. The program couples close monitoring and supervision within the context of a DUI court and contains a cognitive based treatment program and other support services. The effectiveness of the program will be measured by comparing recidivism rates of offenders assigned to the DUI Court program to the control group of offenders assigned to standard probation supervision.)

Organization: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Hawaii, Honolulu
Grant funds: $23,000
Title: Youth Victim Impact Panels. This project will adapt the successful Adult Victims Impact Panel Program, which focuses on adult impaired driving offenders, to a prevention education model for high-risk youths ages 15-18. This program will reach approximately 10,000 youths in Hawaii's public and private school system in the first year.

Organization: Department of Health & Human Services, San Diego County, San Diego, Calif.
Grant funds: $400,000
Project Title: Drinking and Driving Causes Pain. The project goal is to reduce the rates of injury and fatality related to alcohol-impaired driving in San Diego County using a multi-prong approach, including an innovative, comprehensive, computerized data surveillance system; a community-based outreach and education program; and a comprehensive media advocacy campaign. The project will evaluate changes in rates of injury and fatality related to alcohol-impaired driving in San Diego County through continuous surveillance and immediate appraisal to assess the effect on both the targeted and general populations.

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped substantially from the early 1980's to the mid- 1990s, when progress slowed. In 1996, there were 17,126 alcohol-related fatalities, 40.9 percent of the total traffic fatalities of the year.

The Partners in Progress conference brings together leaders in government, national organizations, civic groups, businesses, law enforcement, military, the health and medical community, the alcohol industry, and education, who are committed to reducing alcohol-related fatalities at the local, state and national levels.

"Safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority," said Dr. Martinez. "Impaired driving is everyone's problem, and it's going to take all of us, working together at the national level and in our individual communities, to lower the number of people who are killed each year because someone chose to drive drunk."

He said that achieving 11,000 alcohol-related fatalities by 2005 will save 6,500 lives per year or 18 lives each and every day.

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