Grant to help save lives in Tuscarawas County

(Dover, Ohio) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department was recently awarded $35,000 in federal traffic safety funding from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO). 

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

The Safe Communities Coalition is comprised of partners from various agencies and organizations in Tuscarawas County who help share educational messages and promote traffic safety. “The success of Safe Communities’ traffic safety efforts relies heavily on our partners and the different perspectives they bring to the table. I am thankful for each partner and their commitment to improving traffic safety in Tuscarawas County,” said Kelly Snyder, Safe Communities Program Coordinator for the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

During the past grant year (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021), 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 partnered with the Tuscarawas County 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 challenged local high school students to create a public service announcement for the State Farm Distracted Driving Billboard Design Contest and partnered with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to hold their Annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” kickoff event at the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market. 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 Homecoming and Prom Safety education and the annual Teen Driving Roadeo.

In 2020, Tuscarawas County experienced 11 fatal crashes that resulted in 14 fatalities. So far in 2021, Tuscarawas County has experienced 7 fatal crashes resulting in 8 fatalities. Motorcycle-related, impaired driving, and seatbelt non-compliance are among the top contributing factors in the 2021 fatal crashes.

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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