Federal Grant Programs

State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer a variety of grant programs that are authorized and funded through federal legislation.

Highway Safety Programs

The Highway Safety Act of 1966 authorized the first federal highway safety program – the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program (or Section 402). Since then, Congress has revised national highway safety grant programs many times through reauthorizing legislation, creating new incentive grants, penalties and sanctions.

FAST Act Behavioral Highway Safety Programs

Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) is the surface transportation bill that authorizes the federal surface transportation program including the highway safety programs for federal Fiscal Years 2016 through 2020. The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion for highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology, and statistics programs.

The FAST Act removed the prohibition on the use of grant funds for Section 403 (research) related projects. In addition, the FAST Act no longer allows State DOT HSIP funds to be used for safety projects in other sections of Title 23 including behavioral programs.

The FAST Act added a new Section 405 incentive grant program, Nonmotorized Safety, and, changed the Section 1906 Racial Profiling grant program.

States with automated enforcement systems are required to use Section 402 funds to conduct a biennial survey beginning with FY 2018 and submit the results to NHTSA by March 1 of the fiscal year.  States are also newly prohibited from using federal funds to check helmet usage or create motorcycle checkpoints.

Section 402: State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program

This program provides grants to states to improve driver behavior and reduce deaths and injuries from motor vehicle-related crashes.

Section 154: Open Container Provision

This provision encourages states to enact an open container law.

Section 164: Repeat Offender Provision

This provision encourages states to enact a repeat offender law.

Section 1906: Racial Profiling Prohibition Grants

This program provides grants to encourage states to maintain and allow public inspection of statistical information on the race and ethnicity of the driver for all motor vehicle stops made on all public roads except local or minor rural roads.

Section 405: National Priority Safety Program

This page includes subsections for:

  • Impaired Driving
  • Occupant Protection
  • Traffic Records
  • Motorcyclist Safety
  • Distracted Driving
  • Graduated Driver Licensing
  • Nonmotorized Safety

MAP-21 Behavioral Highway Safety Programs

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) was the surface transportation bill that authorized the federal surface transportation programs – including highway safety programs – for Federal Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014. (The federal fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.) It operated under special extensions until it was replaced by the FAST Act in December, 2015.

Highway Safety Funding

State highway safety programs are funded through federal appropriations. State laws can impact the amount and type of funding that states receive for different programs.

The charts linked below summarize the amount of highway safety funding allocated to the states and territories from FY2014 – FY2016. Amounts are broken down by program.