SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the release of $502,378 in the form of two federal highway safety grants to Eastern Illinois University (EIU) to fund its alcohol and highway safety programs.
“I am committed to keeping the citizens of our state safe on Illinois’ roadways,” said Governor Blagojevich. “With these funds, meaningful education and community outreach programs, such as those operated by Eastern Illinois University can continue to reduce the number of Illinois’ traffic related fatalities.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans. In Illinois, during 2002, 1,420 persons were killed in fatal crashes. The total estimated cost of all crashes in Illinois for 2002 was $8.5 billion.
The first grant, in the amount of $210,384 will continue to fund the operation of the Child Passenger Safety Resource Center. The center, run by the EIU Office of Safety Programs, is designed to increase the usage rates of occupant protection devices for all age populations in the state of Illinois. Specific education already focuses on child restraint and safety belt awareness and usage. The EIU Office of Safety Programs’ Resource Center provides assistance to families and caretakers and addresses the challenges of transporting children safely.
“Protecting all children of Illinois from injury or death is one of the most important aspects of a community’s traffic safety program,” said Tom DiLello, director of IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety. “Keeping our kids safe starts with educating those responsible for transporting our children each and every day.”
The second grant, worth $291,994, will be used to fund an EIU Office of Safety Programs’ alcohol program designed to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes by intoxicated drivers. The program will feature increased enforcement of DUI laws and will extend its Team Approach to the Prevention of Alcohol, Other Drug, and Traffic Safety Problems in Higher Education Program to colleges and universities around the State of Illinois.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds both grants.