Federal Grant Funds Help Save Lives in Tuscarawas County 

(Dover, Ohio) –  The Tuscarawas County Health Department was recently awarded $41,994.29 in federal traffic safety funding from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO).

This will be the fifth year that the Safe Communities grant has been awarded to the Tuscarawas County Health Department. 

“We are committed to working with safety partners to address traffic safety concerns in Tuscarawas County.  These partners are critical to the success of Safe Communities’ traffic safety efforts,” said Kelly Snyder, Safe Communities Program Coordinator for the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

During the past grant year (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), Safe Communities of Tuscarawas County utilized alternative methods for its community outreach and traffic safety education efforts due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. During the July 4th holiday, Safe Communities of the Tuscarawas County Health Department partnered with the Tuscarawas Anti-Drug Coalition to distribute over 1,100 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” flyers to local pizza shops and grocery stores. Recently, Safe Communities distributed over 100 traffic safety “goody” bags at the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market and partnered with Wendy’s Restaurant in Newcomerstown to hold a Safety Day event. During the Safety Day event the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, and Newcomerstown Police Department assisted Safe Communities with seatbelt safety checks.  During the previous grant years, Safe Communities reached more than 6,000 people at more than 25 events throughout the County. Some activities included working in many of the local high schools to educate youth about the importance of safe driving through events such as Prom Safety education, the State Farm Distracted Driving Billboard Contest, and the annual Teen Driving Roadeo.

In 2019, Tuscarawas County experienced 9 fatal crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities. So far in 2020, Tuscarawas County has experienced 11 fatal crashes resulting in 14 fatalities. During the COVID-19 Pandemic Tuscarawas County has seen an increase in speed-related crashes as well as impaired driving.

To save lives and improve the quality of life for our citizens, the Tuscarawas County Health Department will use the grant funds to raise public awareness and educate the public about traffic safety issues.  The funds are passed through OTSO from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the efforts of safety partners statewide and focus on traffic safety priority areas such as restraint use, impaired driving, motorcycle safety, and youthful drivers.

Competitive grant proposals are accepted and reviewed by OTSO. The competitive grant process solicited grant proposals from state agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, hospitals, political subdivisions, and other interested groups within selected Ohio counties and jurisdictions (based upon the number of fatal crashes).  To find out more about the Safe Communities project visit: http://www.tchdnow.org/safe-communities.html

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