FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Major investments from the Biden Administration are coming to Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville to curb traffic fatalities. The funding is coming from a new program fueled by the president's Infrastructure law, bringing almost $4 million to the state to advance road safety.
Through the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program the US Department of Transportation said Raleigh is receiving upwards of $800,000. Fayetteville is receiving about $400,000, while Durham is getting about $500,000 in federal and state money.
With traffic accidents taking such a toll on the public, organizers hope the grants will turn things around.
"Traffic fatalities are very traumatic for everyone and serious injuries," said Doug Plachcinski, Director of the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. "There's a huge emotional burden and cost that happens. They have lingering effects for a very long time, and the reality is, many of these crashes are avoidable or preventable entirely."
Plachcinski says the grant for Durham, Carrboro and Chapel Hill will be used to review data on traffic deaths and accidents. The funds will also be used to engage the public to investigate why car crashes are so prevalent in the area.
"The reality is that a lot of crashes now, as vehicles are safer, and roads are safer are the result of distracted and impaired driving. So how do we get at that? How do we decrease speeds and make crashes less severe so that the chance of a death or a severe injury isn't as high?," he said.
The city of Fayetteville is using its grant to fuel three separate road safety programs. It is also going towards creating economic opportunities and more equitable transportation.
"We get drivers that come from all around the world based on our next-door neighbor being Fort Bragg, and we want to ensure that we make every attempt to create a safe and secure environment for pedestrians, bicyclists and other people on the road," said Loren Bymer, the spokesperson for the City of Fayetteville.
Officials point to data showing how sorely better road safety is needed in the area. The City of Fayetteville says its traffic fatality rate is 10.74 per 100,000 people and is higher than the national rate at 10.62. Durham's rate is about 7.86.
The federal government says traffic accidents are having a major economic impact, too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said car crashes cost the US $340 billion in 2019 alone.