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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Key Grant Programs

A curved Arizona roadway in red rock mountains shows a speed limit of 45 miles per hour.Agency Description

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement.

NHTSA works with State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to implement data-driven highway safety programs that address the individual needs of each jurisdiction, including rural regions of the country.

Following careful analysis of their highway safety and other data, SHSOs in these jurisdictions identify communities that can benefit from the funding available under these programs, which can be used to address occupant protection, impaired driving, speed, and other issues relevant to rural communities.

Discretionary Grant Programs

NHTSA does not have any discretionary grants that fit the criteria for inclusion in the Grant Applicant Toolkit.

NHTSA provides funding opportunities for SHSOs to implement highway safety programs through non-competitive formula grants:

The State and Community Safety Grants Program (Section 402)

The State and Community Safety Grants Program (Section 402) supports multifaceted state highway safety programs designed to reduce traffic crashes and the resulting deaths and injuries.

The National Priority Safety Programs (Section 405)

The National Priority Safety Programs (Section 405) allow the Agency to make grant awards to states in the areas of occupant protection, state traffic safety information system improvements, impaired driving countermeasures (including ignition interlock and 24-7 sobriety program), distracted driving, motorcyclist safety, nonmotorized safety, officer safety, and the prevention of roadside deaths.

These formula grants are distributed based on statutory parameters based on population and road miles (the “formula”) to 57 jurisdictions, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), Puerto Rico, four U.S. territories or “insular areas” (i.e., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

To learn more about the difference between discretionary and formula grants, please visit the Grant Applicant Toolkit section Federal Funding and Financing.

Section 402 and Section 405 funding is awarded only to SHSOs responsible for planning and implementing the programs, based on formulas as authorized by Congress. These offices are responsible for making awards to sub-recipients, the amounts of which vary by state.


For help identifying your State Highway Safety Office, visit the NHTSA “About” page and scroll to the bottom to type in the name of your state.

For more information on NHTSA’s highway safety grants, please visit Highway Safety Grant Programs or the NHTSA Resources Guide.

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