23 U.S.C. § 402 - Highway safety programs

Cite as23 U.S.C. § 402


(1) IN GENERAL.-Each State shall have a highway safety program, approved by the Secretary, that is designed to reduce traffic accidents and the resulting deaths, injuries, and property damage.

(2) UNIFORM GUIDELINES.-Programs required under paragraph (1) shall comply with uniform guidelines, promulgated by the Secretary and expressed in terms of performance criteria, that-

(A) include programs-

(i) to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicles being driven in excess of posted speed limits;

(ii) to encourage the proper use of occupant protection devices (including the use of safety belts and child restraint systems) by occupants of motor vehicles;

(iii) to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from persons driving motor vehicles while impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance;

(iv) to prevent accidents and reduce injuries and deaths resulting from accidents involving motor vehicles and motorcycles;

(v) to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from accidents involving school buses;

(vi) to reduce accidents resulting from unsafe driving behavior (including aggressive or fatigued driving and distracted driving arising from the use of electronic devices in vehicles);

(vii) to improve law enforcement services in motor vehicle accident prevention, traffic supervision, and post-accident procedures; and

(viii) to increase driver awareness of commercial motor vehicles to prevent crashes and reduce injuries and fatalities;

(B) improve driver performance, including-

(i) driver education;

(ii) driver testing to determine proficiency to operate motor vehicles; and

(iii) driver examinations (physical, mental, and driver licensing);

(C) improve pedestrian performance and bicycle safety;

(D) include provisions for-

(i) an effective record system of accidents (including resulting injuries and deaths);

(ii) accident investigations to determine the probable causes of accidents, injuries, and deaths;

(iii) vehicle registration, operation, and inspection; and

(iv) emergency services; and

(E) to the extent determined appropriate by the Secretary, are applicable to federally administered areas where a Federal department or agency controls the highways or supervises traffic operations.


(1) ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS.-The Secretary may not approve a State highway safety program under this section which does not-

(A) provide that the Governor of the State shall be responsible for the administration of the program through a State highway safety agency which shall have adequate powers and be suitably equipped and organized to carry out, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, such program;

(B) authorize political subdivisions of the State to carry out local highway safety programs within their jurisdictions as a part of the State highway safety program if such local highway safety programs are approved by the Governor and are in accordance with the minimum standards established by the Secretary under this section;

(C) except as provided in paragraph (2), provide that at least 40 percent of all Federal funds apportioned under this section to the State for any fiscal year will be expended by the political subdivisions of the State, including Indian tribal governments, in carrying out local highway safety programs authorized in accordance with subparagraph (B);

(D) provide adequate and reasonable access for the safe and convenient movement of individuals with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs, across curbs constructed or replaced on or after July 1, 1976, at all pedestrian crosswalks throughout the State;

(E) beginning on the first day of the first fiscal year after the date of enactment of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2012 for which a State submits its highway safety plan under subsection (k), provide for a data-driven traffic safety enforcement program to prevent traffic violations, crashes, and crash fatalities and injuries in areas most at risk for such incidents, to the satisfaction of the Secretary;

(F) provide satisfactory assurances that the State will implement activities in support of national highway safety goals to reduce motor vehicle related fatalities that also reflect the primary data-related crash factors within a State as identified by the State highway safety planning process, including-

(i) national law enforcement mobilizations and high-visibility law enforcement mobilizations coordinated by the Secretary;

(ii) sustained enforcement of statutes addressing impaired driving, occupant protection, and driving in excess of posted speed limits;

(iii) an annual statewide safety belt use survey in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary for the measurement of State safety belt use rates to ensure that the measurements are accurate and representative;

(iv) development of statewide data systems to provide timely and effective data analysis to support allocation of highway safety resources; and

(v) ensuring that the State will coordinate its highway safety plan, data collection, and information systems with the State strategic highway safety plan (as defined in section 148(a)).

(2) WAIVER.-The Secretary may waive the requirement of paragraph (1)(C), in whole or in part, for a fiscal year for any State whenever the Secretary determines that there is an insufficient number of local highway safety programs to justify the expenditure in the State of such percentage of Federal funds during the fiscal year.


(1) IN GENERAL.-Funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section shall be used to aid the States to conduct the highway safety programs approved in accordance with subsection (a), including development and implementation of manpower training programs, and of demonstration programs that the Secretary determines will contribute directly to the reduction of accidents, and deaths and injuries resulting therefrom.

(2) APPORTIONMENT.-Except for amounts identified in section 403(f), funds described in paragraph (1) shall be apportioned 75 per centum in the ratio which the population of each State bears to the total population of all the States, as shown by the latest available Federal census, and 25 per centum in the ratio which the public road mileage in each State bears to the total public road mileage in all States. For the purposes of this subsection, a "public road" means any road under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel. Public road mileage as used in this subsection shall be determined as of the end of the calendar year preceding the year in which the funds are apportioned and shall be certified to by the Governor of the State and subject to approval by the Secretary. The annual apportionment to each State shall not be less than three-quarters of 1 percent of the total apportionment, except that the apportionment to the Secretary of the Interior shall not be less than 2 percent of the total apportionment and the apportionments to the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall not be less than one-quarter of 1 per centum of the total apportionment. A highway safety program approved by the Secretary shall not include any requirement that a State implement such a program by adopting or enforcing any law, rule, or regulation based on a guideline promulgated by the Secretary under this section requiring any motorcycle operator eighteen years of age or older or passenger eighteen years of age or older to wear a safety helmet when operating or riding a motorcycle on the streets and highways of that State. Implementation of a highway safety program under this section shall not be construed to require the Secretary to require compliance with every uniform guideline, or with every element of every uniform guideline, in every State. A State may use the funds apportioned under this section, in cooperation with neighboring States, for highway safety programs or related projects that may confer benefits on such neighboring States. Funds apportioned under this section to any State, that does not have a highway safety program approved by the Secretary or that is not implementing an approved program, shall be reduced by amounts equal to not less than 20 percent of the amounts that would otherwise be apportioned to the State under this section, until such time as the Secretary approves such program or determines that the State is implementing an approved program, as appropriate. The Secretary shall consider the gravity of the State's failure to have or implement an approved program in determining the amount of the reduction.

(3) REAPPORTIONMENT.-The Secretary shall promptly apportion the funds withheld from a State's apportionment to the State if the Secretary approves the State's highway safety program or determines that the State has begun implementing an approved program, as appropriate, not later than July 31st of the fiscal year for which the funds were withheld. If the Secretary determines that the State did not correct its failure within such period, the Secretary shall reapportion the withheld funds to the other States in accordance with the formula specified in paragraph (2) not later than the last day of the fiscal year.


(A) PROHIBITION.-A State may not expend funds apportioned to that State under this section to carry out a program to purchase, operate, or maintain an automated traffic enforcement system.

(B) AUTOMATED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM DEFINED.-In this paragraph, the term "automated traffic enforcement system" means any camera which captures an image of a vehicle for the purposes only of red light and speed enforcement, and does not include hand held radar and other devices operated by law enforcement officers to make an on-the-scene traffic stop, issue a traffic citation, or other enforcement action at the time of the violation.

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