History and Administration
The State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program, commonly referred to as Section 402, was initially authorized by the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and has been reauthorized and amended a number of times since then, most recently under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The program is jointly administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the federal level and by the State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO) at the state level.
The Section 402 program provides grants to states to improve driver behavior and reduce deaths and injuries from motor vehicle-related crashes.
Under the IIJA, states are required to have a highway safety program that is approved by the Secretary. Funds can be spent in accordance with national guidelines for programs to:
- Reduce drug- and alcohol-impaired driving
- Reduce speeding
- Encourage the use of occupant protection
- Encourage the use of child restraints
- Improve motorcycle safety
- Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety
- Reduce school bus deaths and injuries
- Reduce crashes from unsafe driving behavior
- Improve enforcement of traffic safety laws
- Reduce crashes caused by driver misuse of vehicle technology
- Increase vehicle recall awareness
- Prevent deaths among children unattended in vehicles
- Reduce roadside crashes
- Reduce crashes involving unsecured loads
- Improve driver performance
- Improve traffic records
- Enhance emergency services
- Increase awareness of commercial motor vehicles
- Support school-based driver’s education classes
In addition, states may (but are not required to) spend 402 funds on teen driver programs. If they do choose to fund these programs, they must fund only strategies authorized under 23 USC 402(m).
While previously, no 402 funds were permitted to be spent on the implementation of automated enforcement programs, the IIJA now allows funding of red light and speed cameras in school and work zones under federal guidelines.
States must submit a triennial Highway Safety Plan (HSP), beginning July 1, 2023. The triennial HSP must be data-driven and set quantifiable, annual performance targets for 15 performance measures. The plan must include strategies that will allow the state to meet its performance targets and must describe its successes in meeting its performance targets in the previous fiscal year.
States must also submit an annual grant application every year which includes Section 402 and Section 405 grant applications by August 1 of each fiscal year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will have 60 days to review and approve or disapprove either the triennial HSP or annual grant application.
Funds are apportioned to the states under the same formula as the FAST Act and MAP-21: 75% by population and 25% by road-miles. At least 40% of Section 402 funds must be spent by local governments or be used for the benefit of local governments.
For exact dollar amounts, funding charts by fiscal year can be found on the Federal Grant Programs page under "Highway Safety Funding."