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Title 23

Displaying title 23, up to date as of 9/22/2021. Title 23 was last amended 9/20/2021.

Title 23

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§ 1200.21 Occupant protection grants.

(a) Purpose. This section establishes criteria, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 405(b), for awarding grants to States that adopt and implement effective occupant protection programs to reduce highway deaths and injuries resulting from individuals riding unrestrained or not properly restrained in motor vehicles.

(b) Definitions. As used in this section -

Child restraint means any device (including a child safety seat, booster seat used in conjunction with 3-point belts, or harness, but excluding seat belts) that is designed for use in a motor vehicle to restrain, seat, or position a child who weighs 65 pounds (30 kilograms) or less and that meets the Federal motor vehicle safety standard prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for child restraints.

High seat belt use rate State means a State that has an observed seat belt use rate of 90.0 percent or higher (not rounded) based on validated data from the State survey of seat belt use conducted during the previous calendar year, in accordance with the Uniform Criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt Use, 23 CFR Part 1340 (e.g., for a grant application submitted on July 1, 2014, the “previous calendar year” would be 2013).

Lower seat belt use rate State means a State that has an observed seat belt use rate below 90.0 percent (not rounded) based on validated data from the State survey of seat belt use conducted during the previous calendar year, in accordance with the Uniform Criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt Use, 23 CFR Part 1340 (e.g., for a grant application submitted on July 1, 2014, the “previous calendar year” would be 2013).

Seat belt means, with respect to open-body motor vehicles, including convertibles, an occupant restraint system consisting of a lap belt or a lap belt and a detachable shoulder belt, and with respect to other motor vehicles, an occupant restraint system consisting of integrated lap and shoulder belts.

Problem identification means the data collection and analysis process for identifying areas of the State, types of crashes, or types of populations (e.g., high-risk populations) that present specific safety or usage challenges in efforts to improve occupant protection.

(c) Eligibility determination. A State is eligible to apply for a grant under this section as a high seat belt use rate State or as a lower seat belt use rate State, in accordance with paragraph (d) or (e) of this section, as applicable.

(d) Qualification criteria for a high seat belt use rate State. To qualify for an occupant protection grant in a fiscal year, a high seat belt use rate State (as determined by NHTSA) shall submit an executed Part 1 of Appendix D and the following documentation:

(1) Occupant protection plan.

(i) For a first fiscal year award, a copy of the State occupant protection program area plan to be included in the State HSP that describes the programs the State will implement to achieve reductions in traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on public roads.

(ii) For subsequent fiscal year awards, an update of the State's occupant protection plan provided in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section.

(2) Participation in Click-it-or-Ticket national mobilization. A description of the State's planned participation, and the assurance provided in Part 1 of Appendix D, signed by the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, that the State will participate in the Click it or Ticket national mobilization during the fiscal year of the grant;

(3) Child restraint inspection stations. Documentation that the State has an active network of child inspection stations and/or inspection events that are -

(i) Located in areas that service the majority of the State's population and show evidence of outreach to underserved areas; and

(ii) Staffed with at least one current nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician during official posted hours.

(4) Child passenger safety technicians. A copy of the State's plan to recruit, train and retain nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians to staff each child inspection station and inspection events located in the State.

(5) Maintenance of effort. The assurance provided in Part 1 of Appendix D, signed by the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, that the State shall maintain its aggregate expenditures from all State and local sources for occupant protection programs at or above the average level of such expenditure in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

(e) Qualification criteria for a lower seat belt use rate State. To qualify for an occupant protection grant in a fiscal year, a lower seat belt use rate State (as determined by NHTSA) shall satisfy all the requirements of and submit all the documentation required under paragraph (d) of this section, and submit documentation demonstrating that it meets at least three of the following additional criteria:

(1) Primary enforcement seat belt use law. The assurance provided in Part 1 of Appendix D, signed by the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, providing legal citations to the State statute or statutes demonstrating that the State has enacted and is enforcing occupant protection laws that make a violation of the requirement to be secured in a seat belt or child restraint a primary offense.

(2) Occupant protection laws. The assurance provided in Part 1 of Appendix D, signed by the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, providing legal citations to State statute or statutes demonstrating that the State has enacted and is enforcing occupant protection laws that require -

(i) Each occupant riding in a passenger motor vehicle who is under eight years of age, weighs less than 65 pounds and is less than four feet, nine inches in height to be secured in an age-appropriate child restraint;

(ii) Each occupant riding in a passenger motor vehicle other than an occupant identified in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section to be secured in a seat belt or appropriate child restraint;

(iii) A minimum fine of $25 per unrestrained occupant for a violation of the occupant protection laws described in paragraphs (e)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section.

(iv) No exemption from coverage, except the following:

(A) Drivers, but not passengers, of postal, utility, and commercial vehicles that make frequent stops in the course of their business;

(B) Persons who are unable to wear a seat belt or child restraint because of a medical condition, provided there is written documentation from a physician;

(C) Persons who are unable to wear a seat belt or child restraint because all other seating positions are occupied by persons properly restrained in seat belts or child restraints;

(D) Emergency vehicle operators and passengers in emergency vehicles during an emergency;

(E) Persons riding in seating positions or vehicles not required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to be equipped with seat belts;

(F) Passengers in public and livery conveyances.

(3) Seat belt enforcement. Documentation of the State's plan to conduct ongoing and periodic seat belt and child restraint enforcement during the fiscal year of the grant involving -

(i) At least 70 percent of the State's population as shown by the latest available Federal census; or

(ii) Law enforcement agencies responsible for seat belt enforcement in geographic areas in which at least 70 percent of the State's unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities occurred (reported in the HSP).

(4) High risk population countermeasure programs. Documentation that the State has implemented data-driven programs to improve seat belt and child restraint use for at least two of the following at-risk populations:

(i) Drivers on rural roadways;

(ii) Unrestrained nighttime drivers;

(iii) Teenage drivers;

(iv) Other high-risk populations identified in the occupant protection plan required under paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

(5) Comprehensive occupant protection program. Documentation demonstrating that the State has -

(i) Conducted a NHTSA-facilitated program assessment that evaluates the program for elements designed to increase seat belt usage in the State;

(ii) Developed a multi-year strategic plan based on input from statewide stakeholders (task force) under which the State developed -

(A) A program management strategy that provides leadership, training and technical assistance to other State agencies and local occupant protection programs and projects;

(B) A program evaluation strategy that assesses performance in achieving the State's measurable goals and objectives for increasing seat belt and child restraint usage for adults and children;

(C) A communication and education program strategy that has as its cornerstone the high visibility enforcement model that combines use of media, both paid and earned, and education to support enforcement efforts at the State and community level aimed at increasing seat belt use and correct usage of age appropriate child restraint systems; and

(D) An enforcement strategy that includes activities such as encouraging seat belt use policies for law enforcement agencies, vigorous enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws, and accurate reporting of occupant protection system information on police accident report forms.

(iii) designated an occupant protection coordinator; and

(iv) established a statewide occupant protection task force that includes agencies and organizations that can help develop, implement, enforce and evaluate occupant protection programs.

(6) Occupant protection program assessment.

(i) A NHTSA-facilitated assessment of all elements of its occupant protection program within the three years prior to October 1 of the grant year; or

(ii) For the first year of the grant, the assurance provided in Part 1 of Appendix D, signed by the Governor's Representative for Highway Safety, that the State will conduct a NHTSA-facilitated assessment by September 1 of the grant year. The agency will require the return of grant funds awarded under this section if the State fails to conduct such an assessment by the deadline and will redistribute any such grant funds in accordance with § 1200.20(e) to other qualifying States under this section.

(f) Use of grant funds -

(1) Eligible uses. Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, use of grant funds awarded under this section shall be limited to the following programs or purposes:

(i) To support high-visibility enforcement mobilizations, including paid media that emphasizes publicity for the program, and law enforcement;

(ii) To train occupant protection safety professionals, police officers, fire and emergency medical personnel, educators, and parents concerning all aspects of the use of child restraints and occupant protection;

(iii) To educate the public concerning the proper use and installation of child restraints, including related equipment and information systems;

(iv) To provide community child passenger safety services, including programs about proper seating positions for children and how to reduce the improper use of child restraints;

(v) To establish and maintain information systems containing data concerning occupant protection, including the collection and administration of child passenger safety and occupant protection surveys; and

(vi) To purchase and distribute child restraints to low-income families, provided that not more than five percent of the funds received in a fiscal year are used for such purpose.

(2) Eligible uses for high seat belt use rate States. Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(1) of this section, a State that qualifies for grant funds as a high seat belt use rate State may use up to 75 percent of such funds for any project or activity eligible for funding under 23 U.S.C. 402.