Grant makes highways safe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

REGION – ADECA has awarded the West Alabama Highway Safety Office a $155,000 grant in hopes to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths associated with unsafe driving.

“This grant was awarded to try to improve highway safety in West Alabama,” Lew Drummond, director of the Office of Advancement at Shelton State Community College, said. “It will help create policies and programs to create more defensive drivers and encourage alertness.”

A 2004 report from the Department of Traffic Safety showed a total of 283 crashes in Greene, 318 in Hale, 417 in Marengo and 162 in Perry.

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The same report said there were seven fatalities in Greene, 10 in Hale, five in Marengo and seven Perry.

According to Drummond, most of the funding will be used to administer safety programs at the Highway Safety Office.

Tasha Washington of the Department of West Alabama Traffic Safety said programs dedicated to occupant protection and the prevention of youth and adult drunk driving and speeding will be funded by the grant.

The center organizes community education programs to promote the use of safety belts and child restraints.

Department staff also works with law enforcement agencies to pinpoint “hot spots” where crashes most often occur and coordinate efforts to focus on decreasing drunk driving, speeding and other causes of vehicle crashes in Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Sumter, Bibb, Fayette, Lamar, Pickens and Tuscaloosa counties.

“We are trying to make efforts to reduce highway dangers and increase the quality of life,” Washington said.