RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program has awarded more than $20 million in grants to local and state transportation initiatives to help make roads safer.

The Highway Safety Program will administer 106 community-based grants during the next fiscal year, running from Oct. 2022 to Sept. 2023.

“Last year marked the highest number of fatal crashes in our state in nearly 50 years,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “These programs and partnerships will enable direct and tangible impacts when it comes to making North Carolina roads safer for all users.”

Grants are administered to target key traffic safety areas such as impaired driving, speeding, passenger and driver protection, pedestrians and cyclists, motorists, as well as teen and elder drivers.

The funding will:

  • Combat distracted driving. A portion of the funds will go to the University Health Systems of Eastern NC. The money will help expand distracted driving parent and peer education.
  • Expand bicycle and pedestrian safety. A portion of the funds will go to BikeWalk NC for the Bicycle Friendly Driver Program. The hour-and-a-half course for drivers and cyclists will review laws, infrastructure and crash avoidance.
  • Aim to reduce teen crashes. A portion of the funds will expand the Students Against Drunk Driving program to communities with a high number of teen crashes.
  • Create public awareness of traffic fatalities. Over $270,000 will help fund the NC Alliance for Safe Transportation, a nonprofit to provide expertise on all traffic safety issues in North Carolina.
  • Fund law enforcement efforts in areas of the state most impacted by drunk driving. This initiative will help pay for two new officers on the Lumberton Police Department’s DWI Team. According to the Governor’s program, Robeson is the fifth-highest in the state for alcohol-related fatalities and the fourth highest for unrestrained fatalities.

To view a complete list of grant recipients, click here.