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064 Police officers’ opinions of highway safety grants that support the enforcement of distracted driving laws
  1. Toni Marie Rudisill1,
  2. Motao Zhu2,3
  1. 1West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA
  2. 2Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus, USA
  3. 3Ohio State University, Columbus, USA


Statement of Purpose The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards grants to states to support certain facets of their transportation safety programs including the enforcement of distracted driving legislation. These funds are often funneled to individual police departments to support enforcement activities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether police officers find these grants beneficial to the enforcement of distracted driving laws as this was presently unknown.

Methods/Approach An electronic, valid, and reliable survey consisting of 33 questions regarding the enforcement of distracted driving legislation was sent to police departments randomly selected throughout all 50 states in the United States between mid-November 2019-April 2020. Several Likert-scale questions were asked regarding the helpfulness of highway safety grants. Responses were assessed using frequencies and percentages.

Results Fifty-five percent of respondents (N=353) were from states that received these grants within the past 5 years. Nearly 30% of officers from states which received these grants felt they were helpful while 67% felt neutral. Officers indicated that these grants provided time (58%), additional pay (62%), and less distraction (61%) to focus on the enforcement of distracted driving laws.

Conclusions While officers’ opinions of the grants mainly ranged from neutral to positive, many felt that these grants did support certain aspects of distracted driving enforcement.

Significance These findings may inform future policies or grants that support national distracted driving programs.

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