Researchers from the University of Georgia College of Public Health’s Department of Health Promotion and Behavior received a grant from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to evaluate over 100 educational and law enforcement focused programs funded by the office.
[Photo: Dr. Carol Cotton]
The grant runs through Sept. 30, 2016.
For the 12th straight year, the Traffic Safety Research and Evaluation Group, led by principal investigator Dr. Carol Cotton, will systematically review and analyze grantee effectiveness and, ultimately, determine the overall effectiveness of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in managing grant-funded projects. To date, the group has received $3.8 million in grant money from GOHS for this ongoing project.
“Georgia is a national leader in traffic safety as a result of its enhanced and effective education programs, strong enforcement strategies and continually upgraded highway engineering,” Dr. Cotton said. The Traffic Safety Research and Evaluation Group “has contributed to this by providing rigorous and continuous evaluation of all funded programs as well as GOHS implementation strategies, so that new education programs are held to the high standards set by GOHS, and GOHS partners can be certain GOHS is focused on implementing best practices within the state.”
Using funding from the GOHS, Cotton’s evaluation group has conducted in-depth evaluations of all of the state’s traffic safety grantees over the past decade. These analyses have empowered GOHS to identify the programs which are most effective and either continue or expand them, she explained.
One of these highly effective programs, identified early on by the Traffic Safety Research and Evaluation Group, is the GOHS’s Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic—HEAT—program. Created to combat impaired and aggressive drivers, the HEAT program awards grants to law enforcement agencies that dedicate officers and equipment exclusively to state traffic safety concerns.
“For more than a decade GOHS and TSREG have been partners in traffic safety,” Dr. Cotton said. “During this time many lives have been saved, countless injuries have been prevented, and the quality of life for the motoring public has been improved. This is one of the most important professional partnerships I have ever maintained because it makes a difference every day.”