U.S. regulators announced on Wednesday $76. 2 million in grants aimed at preventing truck crashes, bringing safety funding allocated in FY21 to more than $380 million.
The most recent grants, awarded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to state agencies and educational facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, includes $45.2 million in competitive high-priority (HP) grants to advance technological capability and promote intelligent transportation system applications for commercial vehicle operations. The South Dakota Department of Transportation received $2 million in HP grants, the most of any state.
“These grants represent the Administration’s commitment to supporting strong state and local partnerships to reach our national goal of reducing commercial vehicle-involved crashes and saving lives,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi.
The latest funding round also includes $29 million in Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation grants to help states comply with FMCSA regulations concerning commercial driver’s license standards and programs. An additional $2 million in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grants was awarded to 21 educational institutions to help train veterans for jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers.
Earlier this year, the FMCSA awarded more than $304 million in Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grants, which help 12,000 state and local law enforcement officers reduce truck crashes, fatalities and injuries through uniform safety programs.
In addition to safety funding, the FMCSA on Wednesday highlighted recent efforts it is taking to help recruit truck drivers and keep them employed.
At a roundtable in July, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Joshi hosted a roundtable to discuss the issue. DOT pointed out at the meeting that an average of 50,000 CDLs had so far been issued each month in 2021, which was 14% higher than the 2019 monthly average and 60% higher than the 2020 monthly average.
FMCSA also announced at the meeting that it had granted operating authority to more than 92,000 motor carriers, an 88% increase from the same period in 2020 and a 60% increase from the same period in 2019.
“Our economy is getting back on its feet, but the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated long-standing challenges in our supply chain — including truck driver retention,” Buttigieg said at the meeting. “We are bringing government, industry and key stakeholders together to help support truck drivers and all the consumers and businesses who rely on them.”
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