Frequently Asked Questions
OTS Summit 2009
What is the Office of Traffic Safety?
The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) effectively and efficiently administers traffic safety grant funds to reduce traffic deaths, injuries and economic losses. OTS distributes funds statewide in the form of traffic safety grants that are awarded to political subdivisions of the state based upon certain criteria. OTS develops a yearly Highway Safety Plan that identifies the primary traffic safety problems in the State and provides potential solution. OTS also prepares an Annual Performance Report which features the accomplishments of the California Traffic Safety Program AND presents the progress that had made to achieve the goals and objectives and provides an accounting of the federal funds.
Where does the OTS receive its funding?
The OTS receives funding through the National Highway Safety Act which provides for federal traffic safety funds to individual states. In 1967, the California Traffic Safety Program was enacted by the Legislature to provide authority for California to implement the requirements of the Act.
What traffic safety issues does the OTS support?
The Office of Traffic Safety has identified the following ten priority areas of concentration for grant funding:
- Alcohol-Impaired Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Drug-Impaired Driving
- Police Traffic Services
- Occupant Protection
- Traffic Records
- Emergency Medical Services
- Roadway Safety
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
- Motorcycle Safety
Who can apply for OTS grants?
Political subdivisions of the state are eligible to apply for and receive OTS grant funding. In addition to state governmental agencies, state colleges, and state universities, subdivisions of the state include local city and county government agencies, school districts, fire departments, and public emergency services providers. Non-profit, community-based organizations (CBOs) are eligible to apply for funding through a political subdivision of the state. For example, a city department may submit a proposal that includes funding for CBO participation. The CBO funding would be included under contractual services in the proposal budget. If you have a question as to whether or not you are eligible to apply, contact your OTS Coordinator.
What type of programs has OTS funded in the past?
The OTS supports a wide variety of traffic safety programs which have helped make California a national leader in the traffic safety arena. Such programs include a strong anti-DUI and DUID component including grant programs targeting public awareness and education, community-based coalitions, youth education in high schools and colleges, judicial training, responsible beverage service training and a sobriety checkpoint program with law enforcement. The OTS also funds pedestrian and bicycle safety programs for children, occupant protection, including child passenger safety outreach, and support for increased law enforcement services and resources.
GENERAL GRANT APPLICATION - FAQS
When does OTS announce the annual request for applications?
Who receives the solicitation postcard?
The postcards are mailed annually to chiefs of police, contract city police departments, fire departments, county emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, multi-county EMS system agencies, city engineers, county engineers, city managers, mayors, county administrators, county health officers, and state departments.
When are applications due?
Applications are due January 15 and must be submitted via the eGrants system.
How do I submit my Application?
Does OTS accept applications via mail, fax or email?
No, applications will only be accepted through the OTS eGrants System.
Does OTS accept applications year around?
Yes, however, applications submitted during the posted application deadlines may receive priority consideration for funding.
What criteria does OTS use to evaluate applications for funding?
OTS evaluates proposals using several criteria, including potential traffic safety impact of proposed activities; local collision statistics and OTS rankings; seriousness of identified problems; performance on previous grants; proportionality of funding requested with identified traffic safety problem(s); and the value of the funding requested for the proposed activities.
Is my agency required to provide a funding match?
Who at OTS can I contact for information about grants?
Please contact your OTS Regional Coordinator. Click here to view OTS Regions and Coordinators.
How long is the grant time period?
Typically, OTS grants are for one year (Federal Fiscal Year - October 1 through September 30).
If we have a letter of support from another agency, should we include it with our application or can the agency of support send it?
Letters of support must be scanned and uploaded with the application via the eGrants system.
What is the maximum amount of funds that an applicant can request?
There is no set maximum. Funding amounts and items requested in your application, need to be reasonable and necessary to support the program's goals and objectives. The amount requested must be proportional to the identified traffic safety problem(s).
When will OTS make the funding decisions?
OTS typically announces funding decisions in mid-June.
GRANTS MADE EASY (GME) APPLICATION - FAQS
Are there GME applications for local law enforcement agencies requesting overtime only (no full-time personnel)?
Yes, police and sheriff’s departments should select GME applications designated Overtime Only. These grants are for a one federal fiscal year period (October 1 through September 30). Due to limited funding for this grant cycle, GME Overtime Only applications may receive funding priority over GME application that includes funding for full-time personnel.
Can local law enforcement agencies request funding for full-time personnel and overtime?
Yes, local law enforcement agencies requesting full-time officers would select applications designated as Full-Time and Overtime. Due to limited funding for this grant cycle, GME applications requesting full-time personnel may be given a lower funding priority than applications requesting Overtime Only.
Is it possible to request an additional year of funding under any of the GME applications?
No, currently all grants are limited to one federal fiscal year.
Our agency is unable to conduct one or more of the objectives listed in the GME application. Can I delete the objective(s)?
No, GME Objectives cannot be deleted. Applicants must retain the goals and objectives listed in the GME application. If you are unable to conduct one or more of the objectives listed, insert a “0” for the target number and make sure there are no costs associated with this activity in the budget. In a separate letter to be uploaded via eGrants, provide a brief explanation of why you are unable to conduct the operation(s).
When will I be notified if my application has been selected?
OTS typically announces funding decisions in mid-June.
Does applying for a GME automatically mean my proposal will be selected?
No, OTS grant applications are evaluated against other applications received through a competitive process using several criteria including potential traffic safety impact of proposed activities; local collision statistics and OTS rankings; seriousness of identified problems; performance on previous grants; proportionality of funding requested with identified traffic safety problem(s); and the value of the funding requested for the proposed activities.
What is the California Avoid Campaign?
The Avoid DUI Program was launched in 1973 to bring law enforcement agencies together in countywide clusters to crack down on the drinking driver and reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by alcohol related crashes. Funding provided by OTS grants allows counties to add overtime hours to deploy officers in areas with high occurrences of DUI related traffic collisions and conduct public awareness media campaigns during the increased enforcement periods.
The overall goal of the awareness campaign is to let drivers know about the countywide increased enforcement periods and warn drivers that the only way to “Avoid” the county’s law enforcement officers is to drive sober. Increased enforcement periods are planned during high traffic holiday periods such as the Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, the NHTSA Summer/Labor Day Weekend Mobilization Campaign, and the NHTSA Winter (Christmas/New Year) Mobilization Campaign. Additionally, funding is available for other special operations such as Super Bowl Sunday, St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween or local festivals with identified DUI problems where media campaigns with heavy enforcement can reduce deaths and injuries caused by drunk drivers.
Where do I go to get more information about the California Avoid Campaign?
Contact an OTS Grant Coordinator or OTS Law Enforcement Liaison/Avoid Grant Coordinator Wayne Ziese, 916 509-3023.
How can my agency participate with the Avoid County Coalition?
Contact your OTS Grant Coordinator or OTS Law Enforcement Liaison/Avoid Grant Coordinator Wayne Ziese, 916 509-3023.
My Department is currently participating in our County Avoid Anti-DUI campaign. What impact could occur if we elected not to participate with the coalition?
The Avoid DUI Campaigns are OTS’s number one priority and by dropping out of the program your agency may not be considered for future funding for other OTS grants.
Does my agency need to enter into a contract with allied agencies or can we use an MOU or Purchase Order?
You need to follow your city’s policies and procedures when entering into agreements that exchanges funds for services. All three mechanisms are acceptable if they are following your agencies directives.
Does OTS award multi-agency task force grants?
Yes, OTS currently is funding multi-agency DUI operations under the Avoid DUI Campaign. If you are not currently partnered with the Avoid Task Force, then contact your OTS Grant Coordinator or OTS Law Enforcement Liaison/Avoid Grant Coordinator Wayne Ziese, 916 509-3023.