The South Carolina Department of Public Safety's Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs (OHSJP) is charged with the responsibility of the administration of the federally-funded State and Community Highway Safety (Section 402) Program and coordination of highway safety activities throughout the state on behalf of the Office of the Governor. The State and Community Highway Safety Program originated under the Highway Safety Act of 1966. More recently, on December 4, 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) was signed into law which authorized $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 and an additional $13.6 billion through the end of fiscal year 2021 for highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, research, technology, and statistics programs. The FAST Act requires the Highway Safety Plan (HSP) to provide for a data-driven traffic safety enforcement program to prevent traffic violations, collisions, and collision fatalities and injuries in areas of the state most at risk for such incidents.
Each year, South Carolina receives approximately $4 million in Section 402 funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the US Department of Transportation. These funds, as well as other pools of federal funds for which the state may qualify or apply and receive, are used to assist, via grants, eligible entities in carrying out specific programs that will have a direct impact in reducing the number of collisions and traffic-related fatalities and injuries. Only State agencies, political subdivisions (city/county governments), private, non-profit organizations listed as 501(c)3, and State, local and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments are eligible for grants under this program. Highway Safety grant funds are awarded to qualified applicants to create new or expand existing highway safety programs, with the intention that such initiatives continue when grant funding is discontinued.
Applications for a Highway Safety grant must be submitted to the OHSJP by the scheduled deadline in February. An application must provide evidence of being cost-effective and must describe in detail the highway safety problem to be addressed, project approach and methodology, goals and objectives of the project, evaluation measures, and implementation schedule; a detailed description of the proposed budget must also be submitted. The grant funding cycle is normally from October 1 - September 30.