The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded two grants totaling $245,500 – thanks to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program – to help keep drunk, high and distracted drivers off the roads.

The first grant will provide 25 percent of the funding required for an ongoing DWI Taskforce of five Sheriff’s Department officers, including one who’ll serve as the “DWI Educator” for the county.

The team also includes two High Point police officers.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the total annual cost of that program is just over $682,000 and this is the 13th year of the funding.

The two programs are primarily meant to address “traffic-related issues such as unrestrained drivers, children, speeding, and motorist driving while impaired, and [the program] offers community education on these issues.”

The funding helps pay the salaries of the taskforce members, as well as pay for alcohol blood testing kits and training and travel costs for members.

The second award provides half of the funding needed to continue two additional Guilford County multi-agency DWI Taskforce members.

The total annual cost of that program is $189,440. The federal funding for second award is $94,720, while the local funds are $94,720, paid for by Guilford County. This program funds two deputy sheriff positions and other operating expenses for the officers.

This is the sixth year the county has received this grant funding.

The awards will end September 30, 2023, and the positions funded by the awards are time-limited, subject to available grant funds.

The Sheriff’s Department intends to seek additional federal funds to continue the programs up and running beyond that date.