RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - Earlier this month, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) announced $28.5 million in federal grant funds to be distributed statewide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the 2023–2024 federal fiscal year.
Locally, a little more than a half-million-dollars is being funneled into Rutherford County. Both Eagleville and MTSU Police Departments will utilize their portion of the funds for high visibility enforcement of traffic safety laws. LaVergne, Murfreesboro and Smyrna Police Departments, along with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, will all focus on traffic safety enforcement and education. The sheriff’s office will also use part of their grant in the Rutherford County Schools under their teen driver safety program.
Outside of the visibility factor in community policing, is the conviction of drug and alcohol offenders who made the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Helping law enforcement agencies prosecute those cases, the District Attorney’s Office will focus their grant dollars on convicting and sentencing DUI offenders in Rutherford County. To further drive down the number of repeat offenders, The Prevention Coalition for Success, an organization that fights to reduce substance abuse locally, will further help by reducing the number of repeat offenders through education.
In neighboring communities, over $50-thousand will be used in Bedford County and just under $60-thousand in nearby Cannon County. Law enforcement agencies in those areas will also focus on curbing the number of DUI offenders. Close to $310-thousand goes to enforcement efforts in Coffee County and more than $6-million in funds have been earmarked for Davidson County.
Tennessee Highway Safety Office Director Buddy Lewis said, These funds will be used to increase traffic safety education, public awareness, advocacy, training, and enforcement initiatives to improve driver behavior and protect Tennessee roadways. These partnerships are essential to saving lives and reducing traffic fatalities across Tennessee.”
In looking at the larger picture of the overall funding, more than 370 federal grants exceeding $28 million in total have been awarded to law enforcement agencies and highway safety partners across Tennessee.
Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, district attorneys general, and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding through grant applications offered by the THSO. Applicants who meet the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are awarded grant funds to support the THSO’s mission to reduce traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Learn More: View the list of grant awards and recipients.