The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is applying for five grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) totaling $257,632.
The applications were approved Tuesday by the Franklin County Commission and are standard practice each year.
The largest grant being applied for in 2019 is a DWI Enforcement Overtime Grant, which as the title implies will go to pay overtime salaries for duties working special details.
The amount requested in this grant is $139,082 and would go to the Traffic Safety Unit which is responsible for patrolling the unincorporated areas of Franklin County including 300 miles of state roadways and 700 miles of county roadways.
Although the state Legislature did away with funding DWI checkpoints, law enforcement agencies are now using an approach of using additional deputies for greater enforcement.
The next highest grant application of $57,150 is for hazardous moving violations including distracted driving a speeding.
According to 2015-2017 traffic data, there were 3,631 motor vehicle crashes in unincorporated Franklin County, of those 1,042 were speed related and 831 were because of distracted driving.
Those crashes resulted in 13 deaths and 101 serious injuries.
Hazardous moving violations equate to 61 percent of the fatal crashes in unincorporated Franklin County.
A $35,000 grant request to help prevent impaired driving goes hand in hand with the sheriff department’s overall goal to prevent vehicle crashes.
Franklin County ranks near the top 10 in all alcohol-related crash statistics kept by the state.
According to the grant application, in 2017 and 2018, there has been an increase in impaired driving crashes in the afternoon. Both the lettered and numbered highways in the county have been the main problem areas.
The age range of drivers involved in those crashes is between 35 and 50.
In a period from 2016 to 2018, there were 21 impaired driving deaths reported by MoDOT in Franklin County, 14 of which involved drugged drivers, the other seven involved alcohol.
To expand the enforcement and prevention of alcohol-related crashes, an additional $15,000 grant focused on youth alcohol enforcement is also being applied for.
Franklin County ranks fifth in the state for alcohol-related crashes involving drivers under 21 and is tied for first place in disabling crashes of the same age group.
The county is also ranked third in the state for crashes involving a combination of drugs and alcohol involving drivers under the legal drinking age.
The final grant the sheriff’s department has applied for will go toward new equipment for squad cars.
They are requesting an $11,400 Data Project grant to purchase three Panasonic computers to be used in overtime assignments consisting of hazardous moving violations, impaired driving and saturation patrols.
By Monte Miller | Missourian