• Acknowledgements

  • This publication was made possible through the generous financial contributionof the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).The Advisory Committee on Highway Safety of the International Association ofChiefs of Police (IACP) also acknowledges the hard work and creativity of thefollowing people and their staffs who contributed articles or information forthis deskbook:

  • We thank Commissioner Maurice J. Hannigan (retired) and Commissioner Dwight O. Helmick, California Highway Patrol; Director Richard L. Cade (retired) and Chief Legal Counsel Margaret P. White, Idaho Department of Law Enforcement; Superintendent Thomas J. Constantine (retired) and Superintendent James W. McMahon, New York State Police; Director Earl M. Sweeney, New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council; Colonel Charles M. Robinson (retired), Virginia State Police; Ted Schelenski, 3-M Corporation; Carl Spurgeon, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation; Lt. Colonel Larry N. Thompson (retired), Arizona Department of Public Safety; William Franey, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances/NBSI; Major Ronald P. Miner (retired) and Officer Robert Wall, Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department; Lt. Colonel Richard N. Curtis (retired), Ohio State Highway Patrol; J. Michael Sheehan, Chief, Police Traffic Services Division, NHTSA; Director Russell M. Arend of the Institute for Police Technology and Management; Captain Douglas Hancock and Lieutenant Barry L. Peck, Delaware State Police; Colonel Charles W. Henderson, Massachusetts State Police; Major Robert J. Huss (deceased), Lieutenant Richard J. Phillips and Trooper William W. Messing, Washington State Patrol; Roy Lucke and Robert L. Reeder, The Traffic Institute, Northwestern University; the California Department of Trans-portation; and many other contributors.

  • We also express our appreciation to former Director Ron Sostkowski, Jack Grant, Chuck Peltier, E.J. Kelley, and Carolyn Cockroft of the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police for their work in editing, proofreading, and otherwise bringing this project to fruition; and to the members of the Advisory Committee on Highway Safety whose advice was invaluable at all times during the project.


  • This book is intended for police leaders. After all, that's what youare—whether you call yourselves commanders, administrators, executives, orsupervisors, you are, first and foremost, leaders. It is intended as a quickand practical compendium of information to assist you in asserting yourleadership in one of policing's most important functions, Police TrafficServices.It has been fashionable for some time to emblazon the fenders and doors ofpolice vehicles with slogans calling attention to such aspects of lawenforcement as SERVICE and PROTECTION. But how often do we, as leaders, stopand think about how to serve and protect most effectively?Over 188 million motor vehicles and more than 170 million licensed driverstravel over two trillion miles a year on our streets and highways. Hazardousmaterials in sufficient quantities to blow a small country off the map ifstored, transported, or handled improperly pass our doorsteps every day. Morepeople are killed in crashes on our streets and highways in a single year thanin the nation's last major war.

  • In today's mobile society the motor vehicle is the primary tool used bycriminals to reach the scene of the crime, and to elude the police. Carjacking,motor vehicle theft, drive-by shootings, drug deals, burglaries, and armedrobberies—all involve the use of a motor vehicle.Our entire nation is, indeed, a "nation on wheels," and trafficbackups and delays during rush hour result in millions of dollars and hundredsof thousands of productive hours lost to the economy and unnecessaryenvironmental pollution each year. As drivers, citizens are more likely to havedirect contact with a police officer than in any other aspect of their lives,and those contacts, both pleasant and unpleasant, shape the community's view ofthe police, one by one.

  • All of this adds up to the fact that few areas exist in law enforcement thataffect the quality of life for our citizens as significantly as in therendering of quality police traffic services.

  • The authors of this deskbook, all members or special consultants to the IACPAdvisory Committee on Highway Safety, know from firsthand experience just howconfusing and difficult are the problems you face. The many acronyms thatdescribe various traffic safety programs, the myriad of federal agencies thatset standards in this area, and the need to devise new and effective means ofstretching your limited patrol resources—all add up to headaches for thenew police leader as well as the veteran.

  • We hope that this deskbook, in looseleaf form to facilitate periodic updating,will provide you with a ready source of ideas and information as you go about your duties.

Table of Contents

Associations and Committees

The following is a listing of the associated groups currently active in thehighway safety field, together with a brief description of their administrativeorganization and relationship.


Allocation, Deployment and Evaluation of Traffic Personnl

  • What is the total number of officers, field supervi-sors, and command personnel required to provide acceptable levels of patrol and traffic services?

  • How should a total number of patrol officers be allocated by geographic regions or time periods to maximize agency productivity?

    • Field Usage

    • Based on field experience, the PAM has been found to provide both immediate andlong-range benefits. The procedures in PAM provide agencies with a logical andexplicit format in which to frame requests for additional staff and/or staffdeployment. In addition, it is anticipated that the manuals will serve ascatalysts for stimulating further discussion and research in staffing andallocation for law enforcement agencies.The most recent version of the Manual is derived from earlier editions thatwere based on a review of procedures used by law enforcement agenciesthroughout the United States and Canada. The framework and rationale presentedin the Manual are the result of a distillation process that identified the“best” procedures, and then modified and blended those proceduresinto a comprehensive model for determining appropriate patrol staffing levelsand deployment patterns. The PAM model uses time-based procedures. The model deter-mines staffingand allocation requirements based on the time required for four major officeractivities:

  • Reactive Time. Time spent on Calls for Service (CFS) activities. The major CFS activities for many agencies are traffic accidents and reports of criminal incidents.

  • Proactive (Self-Initiated) Time. Time spent on self-initiated activities—such as traffic enforcement, motorist assists, or completing field interrogation cards.

  • Proactive (Patrol) Time. Time spent patrolling highways and neighborhoods to provide “visibility” for general deterrence and “availability” for self-initiated activities and timely response to reactive time activities.

  • Administrative Time. Time spent on activities that are not reactive or proactive—on-duty court time, meals, auto maintenance, training, or agency administrative duties.


    Alcohol and Drugs

    Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driving

    Alcohol and drugs are part of virtually every culture worldwide. These cultureshave evolved over hundreds, even thousands, of years. With the use of thesepotentially mind-altering substances comes also abuse. Modern societies aremobile societies, and automotive travel is the principle means of movement. Forthose empowered to ensure safety on the highways, there is an irrecon-cilableconflict between substance abuse and safe driving.

    The cost of this conflict is high, and its greatest impact is, perhaps, onfuture societies. NHTSA reports that drunken driving crashes are a leadingcause of death among young people in the United States. Between 1982 and 1993,266,291 deaths in this country were alcohol-related—one fatality every 30minutes. Alcohol-related crashes cost Americans 46 billion dollars a year.Similar statistics on the effect of drugs on driving are difficult to find.Many drug-impaired drivers are never detected or, when detected, are arrestedas alcohol-impaired only. If involved in crashes, they are not chemicallytested for drugs other than alcohol. Conservative estimates suggest thatthousands die and tens of thousands are injured annually as a result ofdrug-impaired driving. In a 1988 study by the University of Tennessee MedicalCenter that analyzed urine samples of crash-injured drivers, drugs other thanalcohol were detected in 40 percent of the samples.

    Many drug users routinely abuse more than one drug simultaneously. Thispractice, known as “poly-drug use” may be more common than singledrug use in certain settings. Many drug abusers drink alcohol to disguise theiruse of drugs. In a study of drugged driving arrests by the Los Angeles PoliceDepartment, 47 percent had consumed alcohol and some other drug. Poly-drug usecan produce a synergistic impairment of the user's ability to drive.This condition is particularly deadly and is prevalent among youngerdrivers. A study of 440 drivers, ages 15 to 34 years old, who were killed inCalifornia during a two-year period detected alcohol and marijuana in one-thirdof the victims. More than half had consumed a drug or drugs other thanalcohol.

    To reduce the highway mortality rate from alcohol and drug impairment requiresaltering culturally rooted behaviors. Behavior-al change may best beaccomplished through ongoing programs of vigorous enforcement, coupled withambitious education and information activities. Thus, there is a broad range ofissues involved with alcohol and drug enforcement on the highway.Effective DWI Statutes.

    The effectiveness of a DWI statute is measured by its ability to deter impaireddriving. The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO)provides a standard in its Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) by which eachjurisdiction may measure its own statutes. Five essential components areidentified in the Uniform Vehicle Code's model DWI statute: emphasis on drivingability, statutory blood alcohol concentration limits, compulsory chemicaltesting, significant punishment upon conviction, and administrative licensesuspension.

    While substances affect different individuals in differing degrees, laws shouldemphasize the impairment of the driver—not the type, legal or illegal, oreven the amount of the substance ingested.The effects of alcohol consumption are well known. Although they vary with theindividuals consuming it, all persons are thought to be impaired by alcoholwhen its concentration in the blood (BAC) reaches 0.08 percent. Statutes shouldprovide that presumptive evidence, per se, exists to suggest that a driver'sability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired when his BAC exceeds 0.08percent.

    The law should require all drivers to submit to a chemical test, ortests, at the option of the arresting officer, to determine the level ofalcohol and/or drugs in their blood, as a condition of holding a driver'slicense. Consent to a chemical test should also be implied when a driver isincapacitated or killed while driving a motor vehicle.

    In order to deter impaired driving, the penalty must be sufficient to outweighthe relatively low risk of apprehension. This punish-ment should include asubstantial fine, imprisonment for repeat offenders, and a lengthy licenserevocation with no provision for “drive to work” licenses or similarprovisions that water down the effect of the license revocation. Research bysocial scientists has indicated that license revocation is the most effectivedeterrent to drunken driving.

    In addition to motor vehicle license revocations through the court system, theprocess can be speeded up through an administrative license revocation (ALR)law where the police officer is empow-ered to seize the license of any personwho refuses to submit to a chemical test or who tests above the legal limit.The person is issued a temporary license valid for not more than 30 days. Themotor vehicle licensing agency holds an administrative hearing and imposes alicense revocation if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that theperson was driving with a BAC in excess of the legal limit or refused to submitto a chemical test. Many ALR statutes also provide for license revocation forany person under the age of 21 driving with any measurable or detectable amountof alcohol, which the Uniform Motor Vehicle Code defines as a BAC of 0.02 orgreater. Other organizations and authorities recommend the more literaldefinition of 0.00, because the drinking age is now 21 years in nearly allstates, and this age group largely represents novice drivers.

    Alcohol and the Commercial Driver

    The National Transportation Safety Board studied alcohol and drug involvementin heavy truck accidents in which the drivers were killed; 33 percent of thevictims tested positive for drug abuse. These drivers had consumed alcohol,marijuana, cocaine, over-the-counter stimulants, opiates, PCP, or acombination. In addition to DWI, the study indicated that these drivers werealso more likely to violate other laws. They were more likely to have prioralcohol or drug histories, were more likely to violate federal hours of serviceregulations, and more likely to drive with suspended or revoked licenses.The U.S. Department of Transportation responded to the dangers posed by DWI incommercial vehicles through changes in the uniform Commercial Driver License(CDL) requirements in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. 49 CFRprohibits commer-cial operation with a BAC of 0.04 or greater. Regulationsprohibit driving within four hours of consumption of any alcoholic beverage.DOT has instituted a mandatory drug testing program among motor carriers, whoare required to randomly drug test 50 percent of the average number ofinterstate operators each year. All 50 states have incorporated the federalregulations into their state motor vehicle laws, thereby making themenforceable by authorized law enforcement officials at the state level.

    Specialized DWI Enforcement Strategies

    Enhanced DWI patrol is a general term for a variety of strategies andtechniques that dedicate manpower for DWI enforcement. This includes roving DWIpatrols and saturation patrols in a targeted geographical patrol area. Thetarget areas are identified by a high incidence of DWI or DWI accident rates.Often, saturation patrols are coordinated with several agencies andjurisdictions to multiply their effectiveness and to share resources. This isparticularly effective where booking procedures can be consolidated, or if a particular agency possesses specialized equipment such as a BreathAlcohol Test (BAT) Mobile. BAT Mobiles are motor homes outfitted with breathtesting instruments and serve as mobile police stations. They can be brought tothe scene in rural areas or stationed on-site at sobriety checkpoints.

    The sobriety checkpoint is a highly visible enforcement mechanism. Allmotorists approaching a designated area of highway are stopped and brieflyinvestigated for signs of intoxication. Its purpose is to maximize deterrence,by increasing the risk percep-tion of motorists who drive while impaired byalcohol or drugs. Evidence suggests that sobriety checkpoints can reduce thenumber of alcohol-related accidents.

    The legality of these checkpoints has been challenged in the courts on thegrounds they violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal searchand seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld their constitutionality in 1990 inthe case of Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz. The Supreme Courtruled that the Fourth Amendment does not forbid the initial stop and briefdetention, without individualized suspicion, of all motorists passing through ahighway checkpoint established to detect and deter drunk driving, conducted inconformity with guidelines on operation, site selection, and publicity. Despitethe federal ruling, certain states have since enacted legislation orinterpreted their state constitutions in such a manner as to forbid thesecheckpoints.

    NHTSA and the IACP Highway Safety Advisory Committee have published operationalguidelines that police administrators should consider in order to ensure thatsobriety checkpoints are legal, effective, and safe. These guidelines stressthat checkpoints should be part of an ongoing program to deter impaireddriving, should have judicial support, and should conform to department policy.The location should be pre-selected by management based on statistics, andthere should be special warning devices, visible police authority, chemicaltesting logistics, contingency planning, effective detection and investigationtechniques, operational brief-ings, comprehensive public information and publiceducation efforts, and post-incident critiques based on data collection andevaluation.

    Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

    The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three testsadministered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validatedindicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest. These testswere developed as a result of research sponsored by the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and conducted by the Southern CaliforniaResearch Institute. A formal program of training was developed and is available through NHTSA to help police officers become more skillful at detecting DWI suspects, describingthe behavior of these suspects, and presenting effective testimony in court.Formal administration and accreditation of the program is provided throughIACP. The three tests of the SFST are:

  • the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)

  • the walk-and-turn

  • the one-leg stand.

  • These tests are administered systematically and are evaluated according to measured responses of thesuspect.

    HGN Testing
    Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occursnaturally as the eyes gaze to the side. Under normal circumstances, nystagmusoccurs when the eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles. However, when aperson is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesserangles. An alcohol-impaired person will also often have difficulty smoothlytracking a moving object. In the HGN test, the officer observes the eyes of asuspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object such as a pen or smallflashlight, horizontally with his eyes. The examiner looks for three indicatorsof impairment in each eye: if the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly,if jerking is distinct when the eye is at maximum deviation, and if the angle of onsetof jerking is within 45 degrees of center. If, between the two eyes, four ormore clues appear, the suspect likely has a BAC of 0.10 or greater. NHTSAresearch indicates that this test allows proper classification of approximately77 percent of suspects. HGN may also indicate consumption of seizuremedications, phencyclidine, a variety of inhalants, barbiturates, and otherdepressants.

    Divided Attention Testing
    The walk-and-turn test and one-leg stand test are “divided attention”tests that are easily performed by most sober people. They require a suspect tolisten to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements.Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention to bedivided between simple mental and physical exercises.

    In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps,heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect mustturn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. Theexaminer looks for seven indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keepbalance while listening to the instructions, begins before the instructions arefinished, stops while walking to regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe,uses arms to balance, loses balance while turning, or takes an incorrect numberof steps. NHTSA research indicates that 68 percent of individuals who exhibittwo or more indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10or greater. In the one-leg stand test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one footapproximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (Onethousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. Theofficer times the subject for a 30 seconds. The officer looks for fourindicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms tobalance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down. NHTSA research indicates that 65 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more suchindicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 of greater.The effectiveness of SFST in court testimony and evidence depends upon thecumulative total of impairment indicators provided by the three-test battery.The greater the number of indicators, the more convincing the testimony.Because SFST is administered according to national standards and is supportedby significant research, it has greater credibility than mere subjectivetestimony.

    Alternative Testing Methods

    Sometimes, an officer will encounter a disabled driver who cannot perform theSFST. In such cases, some other battery of tests such as counting aloud,reciting the alphabet, or finger dexterity tests may be administered. Severalappellate court decisions have indicated that, if you administer a test thatrequires the subject to respond orally in other than a routineinformation-giving fashion, such as requiring them to indicate the date oftheir sixth birthday, and if they are in custody at the time, you shouldadminister the Miranda warning first, because you are seeking information fromthem that is testimonial or communicative in nature.

    Roadside Checkpoints

    Roadside checkpoints provide law enforcement personnel with a ready means tomonitor and check drivers' licenses, vehicle regis-trations, vehicle equipment,and the public vehicle identification numbers (PVINs) mounted on the dashboardsof vehicles and readily visible through the windshield.Because some courts and licensing authorities now issue restricted licenses tooffenders, roadside checks allow officers to monitor compliance withcourt-ordered and statutory restrictions. Law enforcement personnel can contactincreased numbers of vehicle operators without first having to make trafficstops. Roadside checkpoints also enable officers to conduct vehicleregistration inquiries and detect uninspected or unsafe vehicles.A primary tool used by drug couriers to transport illegal drugs is a vehicleregistered to someone other than the operator, such as a leased vehicle.Vehicle registration checks often thwart attempts to transport significantquantities of illegal narcotics and cash.The roadside checkpoint also affords us a means to quickly review vehiclesafety equipment and ensure compliance with special equipment. An officer candetermine compliance with regulations pertaining to tires, exhaust, safetybelts, mirrors, glass, lights, and related equipment. Vehicles not incompliance can be removed from the roadways or issued citations or defectiveequipment repair orders.

    Site selection is an important aspect of roadside checkpoints. Sites should beselected for their ability to provide for the safety of the public and thepolice. A safe site requires adequate visibility for approaching motorists, andample space to park police and violators' vehicles without blocking drivewaysto nearby residences or business establishments. Further examination of avehicle may be necessary, and allowing it to remain in the roadway canconstitute a traffic hazard. Sites should also be assessed for daylight and night operations, taking into consideration the previous factors.

    DWI Sobriety Checkpoints

    DWI sobriety checkpoints are a special form of roadside safety checks. Whilesome states have ruled such checkpoints illegal under their stateconstitutions, the majority and the U.S. Supreme Court have found checkpointsto be legal when conducted in a manner minimally intrusive on the rights of thetraveling public.

    Site Operations

    Generally, roadside sobriety checkpoint locations should be determined by lawenforcement commanders or first-line super-visors, rather than being selectedon an ad hoc basis by the line officers who conduct them. To deter drinkingdrivers, advance publicity of a checkpoint is advisable. Warning signs shouldalso be placed along the highway to notify motorists in advance, and adequatelighting should enable the motorist to quickly spot the checkpoint and react.The warning devices on vehicles and reflec-torized equipment worn by officersshould be deployed. Be sure that oncoming motorists are not blinded by thelights of police cruisers or other stopped vehicles.Provide ample room and a safe location to pull vehicles over, by officers infull uniform and readily identifiable. Briefly greet each motorist and explainthe purpose of the stop. After a brief conver-sation and, perhaps, a check ofthe driver's license, registration, inspection sticker, and equipment,determine whether or not the driver appears to be impaired. If not, quicklywave the motorist on his way. Motorists selected for further investigation onthe basis of articulable suspicion should be pulled off the road in a locationwhere additional inquiry can be conducted.

    If articulable suspicion of DUI exists, a PBT (preliminary breathtesting) device can be employed. Some PBT devices are so sophisticated thatthey no longer require the motorist to blow into them, but operate as“sniffers” to check for the presence of volatile substances whenpassed in front of the driver's nose and mouth. If alcohol or controlledsubstances are detected and the driver appears impaired, administer a fieldsobriety test, and place the driver under arrest, to be transported to a breathtesting site, or a “Batmobile” (a portable breath tester set up in apolice van).

    When stopping vehicles for roadside checks, devise a system that prohibits theconstitutionally impermissible random stopping of vehicles and complies withthe provisions of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Delaware v. Prouse. Thiscase can be complied with by either stopping every vehicle, so that each driverhas an equal chance of being stopped, or by stopping of every tenth or everytwentieth vehicle so that the officer does not exercise individual discretionin deciding which vehicle is to be stopped, and all cars have an equal chanceof being selected. Compliance with these suggestions will result in a constitutionally permissible roadside inspection procedure in most jurisdictions.

    Highway Drug Interdiction

    Highway drug interdiction is a strategy to intercept the flow of illegal drugsand related currency during transport along public highways. Interdictionincludes procedures as routine as observing the interiors of vehicles stoppedfor traffic violations and as deliberate as developing psychological profilesof suspects, behav-iors, and vehicles. Federal law provides for the seizure andcivil forfeiture of any assets, including vehicles connected to illegal drugtrafficking.

    Operation Pipeline/Convoy

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the coordi-nating agency forhighway drug interdiction activities. They administer OperationPipeline/Convoy, which provides training, accumulates seizure data, andprovides information to interested law enforcement agencies throughout theUnited States. Operation Pipeline began in 1983 as a joint effort between the New Mexico StatePolice and the New Jersey State Police. The program continually expanded andnow Operation Convoy has been developed to target tractor-trailer transport ofdrugs. Operation Pipeline/Convoy encourages a coordinated response from lawenforcement agencies at all levels to deter the flow of drugs within thecontinental United States.

    The EPIC Data Base

    The DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) maintains a data-base called StateOperation Pipeline Seizures (STOPS). It provides 5-1-14 easy access to information relating to date, location, highway, vehicle,occupants, destination, concealment methods, and firearms encountered inseizure incidents. Operation Pipeline reports significant seizures of drugs andcurrency to law enforcement agencies through weekly teletype messages. Anintelligence database, Zones of Drug Intelligence Activity (ZODIAC), sharesintelligence information relating to transportation of drugs and relatedcurrency. EPIC is accessible 24 hours a day for database inquiries aboutpersons or vehicles that have been involved in seizures or arrests.

    Training Availability

    Operation Pipeline/Convoy provides training to state and local law enforcementagencies upon request, through dedicated DEA funding. This training is providedby DEA agents and the U.S. Department of Transportation at locations providedby the state or local agency. The program also produces a variety of printedreference materials for law enforcement agencies, and DEA, DOT, and EPICannually host a commercial vehicle drug interdiction networking conference topromote interagency cooperation and share information. For informationregarding any DEA-sponsored program, contact your nearest DEA office.

    Drug Recognition Experts

    Often the behavior of suspects is abnormal for alcohol impairment alone, orfield or breath tests indicate that the suspect's BAC is lower than the levelof impairment suggests. Either of these observations is common whenencountering poly-drug users. Most jurisdictions have laws that prohibit DWI byalcohol, drugs, or a combination.

    Drug recognition experts (DREs) are officers who have been specifically trainedto recognize the effects of drug impairment. The DRE examines such suspects andmakes trained observations to determine whether to request a blood or urinetest, and to guide the laboratory technician toward general categories of drugsto look for in analysis of the sample. The DRE's examination also providesevidence of observable drug effects to help confirm the lab analysis.Recognizing Drug “Signatures”.

    DREs are trained to recognize distinguishable “signatures” of certaincategories of drugs, identified through five observations by the DRE: vitalsigns (pulse, temperature, and blood pressure); psychophysical responses(coordination of mind and body); signs of administration of drugs (such asinjection sites); eye responses (horizontal and vertical gaze nystagmus, eyeconvergence, and pupil size under varying light intensities); and physical andbehavioral characteristics (such as muscle rigidity or flaccidity,hyperactivity).

    A DREs observations cannot substitute for the chemical test or lab analysis.Only such analysis by qualified forensic chemists can accurately identify orquantify a particular drug. This analysis is an important step in theacquisition of gathering evidence in drug-related cases.

    History of the DRE Concept

    The DRE concept was designed and tested by members of the Los Angeles PoliceDepartment in the 1970s, and has been practiced in that department and manyothers since 1982. Reliability and validity studies were conducted by the JohnsHopkins University Medical Center. The DRE techniques have been recognized byNHTSA since 1984, and the IACP Highway Safety Advisory Committee developed andhas administered national standards for training and certification of DREssince 1989. At this writing, more than 3,000 trained DREs work in more than 100programs in nearly half the states.

    NHTSA Prerequisites

    NHTSA has individual, departmental, and jurisdictional prerequi-sites fortraining of DREs. The trainees should already be proficient in usingstandardized field sobriety testing techniques and should demonstrate acommitment to DWI and drug enforce-ment. The sponsoring agency should make anongoing commit-ment to deterring impaired driving and provide the commandsupport to allow the DRE to function at maximum effectiveness. Finally, thejurisdiction where the DRE will operate must have a legal and politicalframework consistent with effective enforcement of drug-impaired drivingviolations.

    NHTSA has also established specific prerequisites as part of its DRE trainingcurriculum. The student must be employed or under the direct control of apublic criminal justice agency or an institution involved in providing trainingservices to officers of law enforcement agencies. He must achieve the learningobjectives of a two-day pre-school, demonstrate proficiency in the use of theSFST, possess good communication skills or a demonstrated ability to testify incourt, and be willing to serve as a DRE upon completion of the training. The department must have an active drug enforcement and DWI enforcementprogram; be proactive in training officers in SFST consistent with IACPguidelines; maintain records of individual officers' SFST activities; haveaccess to adequate chemical testing resources, adequate facilities, andequipment to support the drug evaluation and classification examinations;maintain a management information system capable of accurately tracking alcoholand drug enforcement activities; and have the firm support and commitment ofthe chief law enforcement officer and other appropriate officials.

    The state or community must have laws that permit analyses of chemical samplesobtained from persons suspected of impaired driving; allow the arrestingofficer to specify the type of test or tests to be given to suspected impaireddrivers (blood, breath, or urine); and specifically provide testing for drugsother than alcohol. Local prosecutors must demonstrate a willingness tointro-duce SFST evidence in DWI cases and to participate in the training tobecome familiar with drug evaluation and classification procedures. Localjudges must demonstrate willingness to accept SFST evidence in court and toconsider DRE evidence in alcohol and drug cases. Finally, the politicalleadership of the jurisdiction should express support for the DRE program.

    DRE Training and Certification Process

    Once the prerequisites have been met, DRE training is a three-step process.Phase I is a two-day orientation to the techniques and procedures forevaluating drug-impaired suspects. Phase II is seven days of instruction indrug evaluation, physiology, effects of drugs, and legal considerations. At itsconclusion, students are required to pass a written exam. Phase III consists ofsupervised field training and working with actual drug-impaired suspects. Aftera student has competently performed a minimum of 12 suspect evaluationsidentifying three of the seven different drug categories, he must complete acomprehensive written examination before obtaining IACP certification. Certified DREs must renew their certification every two years.Recertification requires each DRE to perform a minimum of four acceptableevaluations since the date of the last certification, successfully completeeight hours of IACP-approved recertification training, and submit updateddocumentation of DRE activity. A DRE will be decertified if he fails tomaintain standards and certification requirements, or demonstrates substantialunethical or unprofessional behavior.

    DWI Breath Testing Instruments

    NHTSA annually publishes a list of breath testing instruments rigorouslyexamined for accuracy and approved by NHTSA for their ability to accuratelydetermine breath alcohol concentration, and thus blood alcohol concentration.The department of health or other appropriate agency in each state reviews theNHTSA list and test results, and issues a list of devices approved for use bylaw enforcement agencies in that particular state.

    Captured Samples

    Exhaled air can be categorized into essentially three types of samples: tidalbreath air, reserve breath air, and alveolar breath air. Tidal breath air isair exhaled in the course of normal breath-ing. It is the most shallow of thethree types. Reserve breath air is exhaled when the body is exerted. It isproduced through deeper breathing than tidal breath air, but great volumes ofair are both inhaled and exhaled with little residence in the lung. Alveolarbreath air is deep lung air. Since breath testing instruments are intended tomeasure indirectly the concentration of alcohol in the blood, it is essentialfor accuracy that the breath sample captured by the instrument for analysis berepresentative of the air in the alveoli of the lung, because it is in thealveoli that the 2100:1 equilibrium ratio between alcohol in the breath andalcohol in the blood occurs.

    Infrared Instruments

    Infrared breath measuring instruments operate on the principle that eachchemical compound has unique infrared energy absorption characteristics. Ethyl alcohol absorbs energy in the 3.42 micron regionof the infrared spectrum. The amount of alcohol contained in a sample can becalculated by observing energy loss when a known energy is applied to thesample. In the infrared devices, infrared energy is projected through a breathsample. A photo-detector identifies a decrease in wave amplitude caused by theabsorption of energy by the alcohol. The amount of energy absorbed is equal tothe breath alcohol concentration. The greater the alcohol concentration, thelower the wave amplitude. A computer on the instrument determines the breathalcohol content based upon the amount of energy loss, and then applies the2100:1 conversion ratio to provide a digital readout of the suspect's bloodalcohol content.

    Because infrared instruments are based upon infrared absorption spectra, whichare chemically unique, they cannot be influenced by compound such as acetone,which may have some chemical characteristics in common with ethyl alcohol. Infact, some infrared instruments also provide data on the concentrations ofother compounds contained in the breath sample as well as that of alcohol.

    Wet Chemical Instruments

    When infrared instruments are not used, law enforcement generally uses wetchemical instruments, which operate on the basis of color changes producedthrough the chemical reaction of ethyl alcohol with chromate salts. Thesedevices obtain a measured volume of alveolar breath and pass that samplethrough a known volume and concentration of a solution of chromate salt andacid. Chromate salt is yellow. As it reacts with the alcohol in the breathsample, it is chemically altered, resulting in a lighter color. The higher thealcohol concentration, the greater the color change.

    A wet chemical instrument measures the difference between the lighttransmittance of a standard chromate\acid solution and the light transmittanceof a sample solution. The difference in transmittance measured is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol in the breath sample.

    Preliminary Breath Testing Instruments

    PBT instruments are portable instruments for the purpose of BAC screening aspart of the pre-arrest field testing. The suspect driver blows for severalseconds through a plastic or glass tube, and the PBT provides an instantaneousdetermination of blood alcohol content.

    In most jurisdictions, the legal basis for the use of these instruments iscontained in the implied consent laws. While results of a PBT generally are notadmissible as evidence of DWI, they do provide officers with additionalobjective information to establish probable cause for arrest and furtherchemical testing. They also help to detect persons who may be suffering from anillness or injury such as diabetes or head injury and are in need of chemicaltreatment, but would otherwise be mistaken for an intoxicated person.There are essentially three types of PBTs: electro-chemical, semi-conductor,and disposable chemical.

    In electro-chemical PBTs, alcohol in the breath is absorbed into a fuel cellwhere it is oxidized, producing electrical current. The higher the alcoholcontent of the breath, the greater the current output of the fuel cell. Bymeasuring the current produced, the instrument determines the breath alcoholcontent, and the BAC conversion is displayed with the aid of a computer chip.In semi-conductor PBTs, alcohol increases the electrical output of thesemi-conductor. By measuring the voltage output, the breath alcohol content canbe determined and the BAC conversion is displayed.

    Disposable chemical PBTs are glass or plastic tubes containing ameasured amount of the chemical, which is reactive with alcohol. As the suspectexhales through the tube, alcohol contained in the breath reacts with thechemical contained within. The greater the breath alcohol content, the greaterthe chemical reaction observed.

    Non-Invasive or Passive Alcohol Sensors

    Passive alcohol sensors (PAS) are instruments that detect the presence ofalcohol in normally expelled breath. They require no cooperation from thedriver. During the roadside interview of the driver and examination ofdocuments, the officer places the PAS within six inches of the driver's mouth.It contains a small fan which samples the ambient air for examination. Anelectro-chemical mechanism analyzes the air for the presence of alcohol.Some instruments are concealed within a flashlight and can be used as a passiveor active detector. NHTSA studies indicate these devices are effective duringsobriety checkpoints when the decision whether or not to continue breathtesting must be made quickly.

    Speed Enforcement

    Speed Enforcement Programs

    When police administrators decide to initiate a speed enforcement program, theymust be willing to take a comprehensive look at the community or patrol area,including its accident data, arrest statistics, criminal activity,demographics, and geography. They should also listen to the opinions of rankand file police officers, traffic safety experts and community leaders, andhold frank discussions with judges, prosecutors, and those who could fund sucha program. Long regarded as a factor contributing to collisions, speed can take two forms:exceeding the posted speed and going faster than conditions, such as heavytraffic or poor weather, permit. Speeding has been found to be directly relatedto the severity of vehicle crashes. As speed increases, the potential forinjury also increases. The speeder has less time to react to a hazard since hisvehicle is covering more distance than it would at a slower speed. Speed alsoincreases total stopping distance.

    Higher speeds also contribute to the severity of crashes. There is a greaterchance of death and disabling injuries when speed increases. The NationalSeverity Crash Study did an intensive investigation of crashes from 1977 to1979 and found that a possibility of a fatality increases dramatically as thespeed of the vehicle increases. The study showed that a driver with a change ofspeed going 50 m.p.h. was twice as likely to be killed as one with a change inspeed going 40 m.p.h.

    Planning the Enforcement Program

    In order to plan an enforcement program, a problem must be identified—if aproblem does not exist, there is no need for a program. Once the problem isidentified, specific goals and objectives must be established. Basing a program on revenue enhancement should be resisted at all costs.This approach is doomed before it starts. Eager financial analysts may quicklysee the potential for revenue to feed some government body, but that is not thefundamental basis for any speed enforcement program.

    A formal written agency policy should be adopted for speed enforcementprograms, and every aspect of it should fit the program. An important part ofany program is to have the public share the commitment to the policy. Further,a policy without the organization's commitment to carry it out is a paper tigerand will not accomplish any of its stated goals.

    The policy should address the necessary training for implementa-tion and alsoshould also include a section on evaluation. Over time, this policy will needto be further defined and changed. If no formal evaluation mechanism exists,you will have no way to argue the success of the program or defend it againstits critics.

    Role of Traffic Records Systems

    Any speed enforcement program must be supported by a traffic records system toprovide a variety of statistical measures concerning speed enforcement. Thespeed enforcement program will be just one component of that system, whichshould be a data-driven comprehensive system for all traffic records.The primary component of a traffic records system is a detailed crash history.Before beginning any enforcement program, a study should be performed todetermine where, and why crashes are occurring. This information can often beobtained from the state Department of Transportation or by review andtabulation of crash reports submitted by officers. Once a determination hasbeen made as to the worst locations and the primary causes of crashes,commanders can formulate plans for enforcement efforts.

    A study of speed variance should be done on selected roadways in order tosee if a speed enforcement program is needed and, if so, on exactly whichroadways. Speed variance is the distribution of all speeds on a roadwaycompared to its average speed; the larger the variance between the speeds ofvehicles using the roadway, the greater potential for collisions. As speedincreases above the average speed, there is a greater likelihood of a crash.Another aspect in deciding the necessity of a speed enforcement program is tocompare the actual speeds to the posted speed limits. The reaction time to ahazard is approximately three-fourths of a second; when the speed limit isexceeded, the potential for a crash increases because a vehicle will approach ahazard much more quickly than if the speed limit is obeyed.

    Speed limits take into account a variety of factors such as geogra-phy, roadwaydesign, general safety, and the type of area such as school zones. When thesespeed limits are compromised, then the factors which helped justify the limitsare compromised as well.

    Benefits of A Program

    A speed enforcement program can do more for a police department than justcontrolling speeding and reducing collisions. Speed enforcement providesprobable cause to stop a vehicle. Once stopped, the occupants can be asked anumber of questions and further investigation can be conducted. Criminalcharges can result from vehicle stops that started with speeding: possession ofstolen property, unlawful flight, possession of stolen vehicles or illegaldrugs, illegal immigration, and other traffic charges such as DUI and drivingafter suspension.

    Public Information Aspects

    Some of the problems associated with a speed enforcement program can bereduced, although never eliminated, if a careful and deliberate publicinformation and education campaign is initiated before the program begins.Contacting the media is only one way this can be accomplished. Driver educationclasses and opportunities for public speaking are other ways. Publicizing thetraining that the officers receive will also emphasize the program. Malldisplays and public events are additional ways to acquaint the public with theprogram.

    A police administrator should be prepared for negative feedback on a speedenforcement program. There are always those who will quickly criticize aprogram or bring up some scandal involving a police department and speedenforcement. Realizing this fact, the police administrator must continue torelate the program to concise goals.

    Internal Problems

    In addition to objections from the public, police officers themselves mayresist a speed enforcement program. Some officers will call speed enforcement“robot work” and not relate their individual efforts to the total lawenforcement mission. These problems will be difficult to address.

    Avoid setting quotas. Rotate personnel frequently. Officers can schedule speedenforcement for limited hours in a day to reduce monotony. Another method is tocombine a speed enforcement program with a DUI enforcement program. The speedenforcement program can be put in place during times when drunk driving islikely to occur. This combination of programs will be varied and receivegreater support.

    Cost Considerations

    The cost of setting up a speed enforcement program can vary from a few hundreddollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and extentof a program. An initial consideration is the type of detection devices that will be used todetect speeders. In addition to the many choices and manufacturers of units,discounts are also available for large purchases. Often police departments cancollaborate on equipment bids to get the best price.

    The equipment will need technical service. If a police department does not havestaff to do this, the costs must be budgeted.Most of the administrative costs of the program can be absorbed into theexisting staff. If your department has a weak data support system, thisshortcoming will also need to be addressed in cost considerations.Finally, a department having difficulty implementing a speed enforcementprogram because staffing may have to budget for overtime.

    Expect additional court expenses when a speed enforcement program isimplemented. These are difficult to estimate; however, good training shouldlimit the number of challenged cases.

    Speed Enforcement Grants

    A police department can offset some costs for speed enforcement programs byapplying for and receiving federal funds. In 1966, the Highway Safety Act wasestablished under Title 23 of the U.S. Code, thereby making funds available toeach governor's highway safety representative to assist states and localitiesin organizing their highway safety programs. Section 402 funds are availablefor speed enforcement programs. Currently, eight areas are targeted for safety programs. These programs often need matching funds and mustmeet criteria established by NHTSA.

    Two other federal sources of funds, Section 408 and Section 410, assist alcoholtraffic safety programs. As with the 402 programs, these programs also havespecific criteria that must be met to qualify for the funds.

    The National Maximum Speed Limit

    In 1974, the 55-mph national maximum speed limit was initiated throughout thecountry by the U.S. Congress as a temporary conservation measure in response tothe oil embargo by certain oil-producing countries. Initially, trafficfatalities were dramatically reduced; in 1975 the 55 mph speed limit was madepermanent. To qualify for federal-aid highway projects, states had to certifythat they were enforcing the 55-mph speed limit.

    In 1978, Congress amended the law to require states to achieve certain levelsof compliance or risk losing up to 10 percent of their federal highwayconstruction funds. Originally, this compliance limit was set at 70 percent,but was later reduced to 50 percent in 1982. The legislation required eachstate to set up a monitoring program for checking compliance.

    In 1987, Congress amended all the 55 mph legislation to allow states to raisethe limits to 65 mph on some interstate highways and some rural non-interstatehighways.

    ISTEA Legislation

    In 1991, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) allowedthe 65 mph areas to become permanent, provided that certain criteria were met.In addition, a formula was developed for states to determine their compliancewith the 55 mph areas. This formula included not only weighted speedviolations, but information on fatalities and serious injuries occurring onthese Nationally Monitored Speed Limit Roadways (NMSL). This legislation alsogave the Department of Transportation's secretary the authority to includeother appropriate factors in the formula. ISTEA also mandated that data becollected on a scientifically random basis and that this collection take into account the risk of motor vehicle accidents and the different classes of highways.States have to submit quarterly reports on surveyed speeds, including medianspeed, average speed, the 85th percentile speed, and the vehicle miles traveledon each type of 55 mph roadway.

    A word about 85th percentile speed is in order. Traffic studies have shown thatspeed on a roadway resembles a bell-shaped curve. The standard deviation can bedetermined by the difference between the average speed and the 85th percentilespeed. The difference contains 35 percent of the distribution.This information is used in determining the maximum allowable amount ofnoncompliance in the different highway categories:NMSL Road Category 5 mph 10 mph 15 mph 55 mph Freeways 43% 19% 5% 65 mphFreeways 19% 5% 1% 55 mph Non-freeways 27% 9% 2%

    The states are then classified into four types and given maximum allowablescores:

  • Those with all three highway types

  • Those with 55 mph freeways and 55 mph non-freeways

  • Those with only 55 mph freeways and 65 mph freeways

  • Those with only 55 mph freeways

  • Maximum Allowable Scores

  • Those with all three highway types 210

  • Those with 55 mph freeways and 55 mph non-freeways 176

  • Those with only 55 mph freeways and 65 mph freeways 138

  • Those with only 55 mph freeways 75

  • These scores are the result of the compliance formula. An adjustment isallowed for speedometer variability, sampling vari-ability, and equipmenterror.

    Beginning in FY '94, states not complying with the formula were subject to thetransfer of funds as a penalty for non-compliance. Each state is required tohave a speed monitoring plan in accord-ance with the Speed Monitoring ProgramProcedural Manual. This plan requires each state to have a number of speedmonitoring stations. Non-compliance is penalized by a transfer of federalhighway aid funds from highway construction projects to Section 402 funds(highway safety projects). This transfer will be 1.5 percent of the fundsapportioned to the state, and these funds must be used for safety programs withan emphasis on speed enforce-ment. However, if a state's fatality rate is 20percent below the national fatality rate, this factor can be used by thesecretary to reduce the amount of transferred funds.

    The IACP Position

    This legislation has been the subject of debate between the states and thefederal government. The IACP and others have taken positions in opposition tothis legislation. The IACP feels that in some instances the NMSL has divertedenforcement resources from other roads with higher death tolls and from evengreater traffic safety hazards such as the drunken driver. The IACP officiallyfavors a reasonable national maximum speed based on actual hazards, and favorsincentive payments to states that exceed the minimum requirements, rather thanthe penalty transfer approach.

    Another criticism has been that the 55 mph urban interstate limits areunrealistic in some locations because they depend on population figures ratherthan on road and traffic hazards. Various studies seeking to prove that the 55mph limit has had a long-term positive effect on highway safety have come upwith mixed results. Given the present federal law, however, more than local considerationsare at stake whenever a police administrator considers a speed enforcementprogram, because a state has much to lose by not complying with the federal lawand regulations. The administrator, therefore, must always implement speedenforcement programs with an eye to these federal mandates.

    Speed Measurement Devices

    Four primary speed measurement devices are currently used by policedepartments: speedometer clocks, radar, average speed computers, and LIDAR(LIght Detection and Ranging). Two additional types used to a lesser extent areaircraft and photo radar. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    Speedometer Clocks

    Although often neglected in today's age of technology, speed-ometer clocks arethe least expensive method of clocking speeders and can be extremely effective.Radar and LIDAR detectors are useless against an officer who is proficient inspeedometer clocking.

    The patrol car speedometer is used to pace vehicles. The most importantcomponent of this method is an accurate speedometer that is certified by thefactory. A speedometer can be calibrated several ways: fifth wheel attached tothe rear of the vehicle; using a stopwatch that has been certified to clock thepatrol car over a measured course; or using a dynamometer, which allows thepatrol vehicle wheels to rotate in place while the speedometer is checkedagainst the device for discrepancy (probably the best method and also the mostexpensive).

    The advantage to the dynamometer method is that it can be combined withmaintenance procedures so the patrol officer does not have to certify thespeedometer while on patrol. Using the dynamometer also allows moreadministrative control.


    An acronym for “Radio Detection And Ranging,” radar involves thetransmission of electromagnetic waves that reflect off a moving object. Whenthe wave is reflected, it changes frequency and is interpreted by the radarunit in a speed calculation. This change is referred to as the Doppler effector Doppler shift. Radar is used in a stationary or moving mode.

    Although this is the most popular technology for speed enforcement, using radarhas been extensively litigated throughout the country. Recently, policeofficers and others have raised health issues concerning the risk of cancerfrom using these devices. All recent evidence indicates these claims aregroundless, but litigation is still pending. Since most cancer studies involvelongitudinal research, 20 or more years may pass before scientists lay thisissue to rest.

    Average Speed Computers

    Mounted in the patrol car, an average speed computer is a device that uses aprogrammed computer to measure speed by dividing the distance traveled by thetime it took to travel the distance. Whereas radar and LIDAR devices areprimarily used to measure maximum speed, average speed computers measureaverage speed over a specified distance. Average speed computers can be used inboth a moving and stationary mode. Since it does not use electro-magneticwaves, it is undetectable by radar detectors. The most common brand of thistechnology is VASCAR. reg.


    Laser or LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) has recently been adapted for lawenforcement use in speed measurement. LIDAR devices use an infrared light waveemitted at frequencies that allow the beam to be focused into an extremelynarrow target area. The devices are usually used in the hand-held mode. Theycan be used through the glass with reduced range; therefore, an open window orexterior use is preferred.

    LIDAR has become more popular with the proliferation of radar detectors.Detection of laser beams is possible but the benefit of devices that detect thelaser beam is limited. This is due to the fact that when the device interceptsthe laser beam, this corresponds to the clocking of the vehicle with the LIDARdevice. In addition, most of these LIDAR devices are mounted inside thevehicle, a location which reduces their ability to detect the laser beam.The theory behind laser technology is that speed is calculated by dividing thedistance by the time of the light pulses of the laser ( S=D/T of light pulses).


    This method of speed enforcement uses the combination of ground-based units anda fixed wing airplane. A measured course is identified by painted lines on thepavement. This method of enforcement is based on the formula Speed =Distance/Time. As vehicles travel on the measured course, a stopwatch isactivated in the airplane. Once the course is completed, the speed iscalculated and, if the vehicle was speeding, the description is broadcast tothe ground units. The vehicle is pulled over and the vehicle and speed areverified. The aircraft, typically the high-wing design that allows anunobstructed view of the ground, can also be used for marijuana eradicationactivities, emergency transport, traffic monitoring, surveillance, and otherlaw enforcement programs.

    Photo Radar

    A extension of regular radar, this technology uses photography to capture thevehicle and license plate when the violation occurs. The date, time, and speedcan be superimposed onto the photograph. Some can also capture the image of theoperator in the picture. Photo radar can be used in manned or unmannedapplications. It is usually used in jurisdictions where specific legislationpermits its use and where vehicles have both front and rear plates.

    Drone Radar

    This method uses an unmanned radar station to trigger motorists' radardetectors. The theory is that when the detector alarms sound, the drivers willslow their vehicles down because they will not know where the police officeris. These units can be mounted in moving vehicles, concealed in highway signs,or installed in highway work vehicles and many other locations.The FCC and NHTSA have regulations that must be met in order to use this methodof speed enforcement. Overuse of this method will reduce its effectiveness.

    Testing Programs for Speed Measurement Devices

    Each manufacturer of a speed measurement device has a method of certifyingtheir units. All the manufacturers' guidelines should be followed. In addition,a technician, either employed or retained by a police department, shouldcertify the units at least annually because most new devices come with aone-year certification from the factory. An annual check will help in qualityassurance of the devices. There may also be legislative requirements indifferent jurisdictions which should be followed. A judicial ruling may create acertification schedule in a given jurisdiction as well.

    The IACP also has a testing program using regional testing laboratories locatedin; Warrensburg, Missouri; Davis, California; East Lansing, Michigan; andJacksonville, Florida. This program was set up in the late 1970s after policeradar had been in existence for several years. NHTSA and the LESL (LawEnforcement Standards Laboratory), a division of the National Institute ofStandards and Technology (NIST), entered into a cooperative agreement todevelop performance and safety standards. In 1982, the IACP began to publishthe results of this testing. Most of the manufacturers of radar units submitunits for testing and their products are listed on IACP's Consumer ProductsList (CPL).

    To be listed on the CPL, a manufacturer submits its new units or prototypes toa testing laboratory. When the model passes, 200 production units must then besubmitted for Critical Performance Testing (CPT), at the manufacturer'sexpense, before any units are sent to the field for actual enforcement use. Inaddition, three times a year, four units off the shelf are tested at themanufacturer's expense. If the testing reveals that insufficient units arepassing, more units will be tested. If the failure rate is too high, then theunits are recalled by the manufacturer and removed from the CPL.

    If police departments do not have technicians available to test in-serviceunits, the IACP radar testing program can provide this service at a minimalexpense.

    Safety Precautions

    Department policies should specify certain safety procedures to be followedwhen operating police traffic radar. The antenna should be pointed away fromthe officer, and the unit turned off when not in use. A hand-held unit shouldnot be placed between the legs when transmitting, or in any other locationclose to the body. However, the testing process to qualify for the CPL hasshown that the typical police traffic radar unit emits less radiation thancellular telephones or hand-held portable radios.Some police departments have gone the extra step to mount the radar antennaoutside the patrol car to avoid excessive exposure to microwave radiationbouncing off objects in the vehicle's interior. This method is even morepopular as today's police vehicles come equipped with driver and passenger-sideair bags, thus limiting the amount of equipment that can be mounted on thedashboard.

    The recent use of LIDAR or laser devices is being studied by IACP and NIST,with certification standards due as of this writing. The Michigan Speed TaskForce has developed standards for the use of laser in its state and maintains alist of approved units. A Class 1 unit is recommended for safety and has thelowest classification of risk. Since a laser unit emits light waves, a eyesafety issue has been raised. The Class 1 designation should make the unit safefor the eyes, but certain precautions are in order. Officers should not lookdirectly into the aperture of the devices at a distance of closer than eightinches for an extended period of time. Precautions such as this should bediscussed thoroughly during training.

    A police department should keep both maintenance and calibration records forall units. These files should be kept for the life of the unit.

    Speed Enforcement Policy

    Every police department utilizing a speed enforcement program needs writtenpolicies and formal training guidelines. The policy should contain a statementidentifying at what levels discretionary mandatory enforcement will take place.In some departments less a certain number of miles per hour over the postedlimit is allowed discretionary enforcement and any speed over this amountrequires a mandatory ticket. If you set such a requirement as this, recognizethat not all motorists have accurate speedometers, and the tolerance shouldallow for at least normal speedometer error. Some departments allow theirofficers to issue warnings at differing speeds depending on time of day androad, traffic and weather conditions. Still other departments determine the85th percentile speed—that is, the speed at which 85 percent or greater ofall traffic is traveling below, and set a tolerance for each roadway dependingon that figure. All policies should include a monitoring function to ensurecompliance.

    A policy should include the following areas:

  • Qualifications of officers

  • Recertification of speed measuring devices

  • Supervision

  • Selecting a Location

  • Positioning the Unit

  • Operation and Calibration of radar or LIDAR

  • Apprehension

  • Arrest and Detention

  • Prosecution

  • Written Warnings

  • Storage of the Radar or LIDAR Units

  • Logs (Implementation and Maintenance)

  • There also should be tickler files for the recertification of radar and LIDARunits and formal maintenance procedures.

    Officer Training

    The initial officer training can be conducted by the manufacturer of the unitto qualify officers as instructors. If a new mode or unit is being used, themanufacturer should agree to be available for court testimony in order toobtain case law on the unit as a valid measure of speed detection. In additionto manufacturers' guidelines, police departments should supplement this withtheir own training. NHTSA publishes a textbook entitled Basic Training ProgramIn Radar Speed Measurement for both instructors and trainees. Otherpublications are also available to assist with instruction. It is important notonly that the device is appropriate for speed enforcement, but that officersare qualified to use the units properly.

    Purchase Guidelines

    Purchasing guidelines for speed detection devices must take price, reputation,and service into account. Government purchasing and bid laws will alsoinfluence the purchase. All units purchased should be on the IACP ConsumerProducts List. Individual needs also must be taken into account. One department may want apadded radar dashboard unit because of safety considerations, while anothermight want the unit with the top painted white to reflect heat. Each of theseconcerns needs to be negotiated with the company representative.

    You may also wish to contact other police departments in the area to find outwhat units they are using and to determine if a larger purchase will affect theprice. Mounting considerations in the new police vehicles may also dictate thetype of unit that can be purchased. A department should try to obtain a unit ortwo for a trial basis so that line officers can comment on the units that theyprefer.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Speed Enforcement Devices

    One of the least expensive and readily utilized methods of speedenforcement is using the patrol vehicle speed-ometer to do clocks; however,this method can only be used in the moving mode. It can be used in any type ofweather and terrain and during any light conditions. The speedometer must becalibrated regularly and must be used responsibly. This method is somewhatsubjective because it is done by pacing. It is recommended that pacing be donefor at least two-tenths to one-half mile, at a speed at which the violator'svehicle is gaining just slightly on the officer. When a speeding car isdetected and the clock is completed, the vehicle should be pulled over. Aviolator should not be followed for miles in an attempt to determine hismaximum speed. Since one of the purposes of speed enforcement is to make theroads safer, this is not accomplished by allowing a speeding vehicle tocontinue in a hazardous manner for long distances.Traffic conditions, weather, and terrain may make a good clock difficult. Somejurisdictions have statutes that prohibit driving at a speed greater thanreasonable, or careless driving, which may apply. If an officer is a goodobserver and can document that the vehicle passed all other vehicles, screechedtires while turning, jumped while going over bumps in the roadway, andexhibited other indications of speed, convictions can be obtained.

    Radar is the most widely used and accepted speed detection device. Thecosts vary. A reliable unit may be purchased for under $2,000. These types ofunits have many advantages: they can be used in a stationary or moving mode,are available in a hand-held variety, and give both audio and visualindications of speed. Since the units are highly accurate and reliable, theyare widely accepted in court. The units can be stored in a carrying case andmoved from vehicle to vehicle. If a department has several, they should devise an internal marking scheme to keep all the units accounted forand maintain the certifications with the proper unit.One disadvantage of radar units is that, unless the operators have beenproperly trained, the wrong motorist can be cited for speeding. Radar has awide beam combined with a range of three-fourths of a mile or more. Because thedevices are not target-specific, but rely on the operator for accuracy, theyare more difficult to use in congested traffic areas. Training can helpofficers use radar in congested traffic areas but it will be more difficultthan using it in less congested areas.

    LIDAR or laser units have some distinct advantages over radar but havetheir own disadvantages. LIDAR units are expen-sive when compared toradar—approximately $4,000 to $5,000 each. The units are target-specific:The vehicle aimed at is the vehicle detected. Unlike radar devices, these unitsare immune to electrical interference, such as that from car fans. LIDAR unitswork well in city environments and on heavily traveled roadways.The disadvantages of LIDAR units are that they must be used in a stationary andhand-held mode. Their range is approximately 1,200 feet. This technology is notaccepted in all courts. Once the technology receives judicial notice it shouldreceive general acceptance in the courts. Rain and fog reduce a laser's rangeas well. When debating the purchase of radar or LIDAR devices, the issue is notthat one is better than the other; each complements the other and are suitedfor its own purpose.

    Average Speed Computers.
    The use of average speed computers is also worthy ofconsideration. It emits no beams and can be used in all weather and trafficconditions. It is target-specific and can be used in a moving or stationarymode. Some consider this a better measurement of speed, since it measuresaverage speed over the target area, rather than maximum speed, as do otherdevices.

    The disadvantage of the average speed computer is that it is permanentlymounted in the patrol car. Reaction time by the operator could affect thedetermination of speed, although proper training can resolve this problem. If any error occurs in the operationof the unit, it should be to the benefit of the offender. Since somejurisdictions use fixed sites, roadways may need to be marked by the highwaydepartment.

    Aircraft enforcement uses the same basic formula that average speed computersuse, but the measurement is usually accomplished by a certified stopwatch or acomputer. The main advantage to this method is that it is very difficult todetect. Research by the Maine State Police has indicated that the actualproductivity of combined ground/air enforcement exceeds those of groundenforcement units alone, and that aircraft enforcement is actually a veryefficient means of apprehending violators.In addition to the extra manpower required on the ground, aircraft enforcementhas other disadvantages. The roadways must be marked and the area must also befree of any obstructions so as not to interfere with the identification of anysuspected violator.

    A police department will probably not purchase an aircraft solely for thepurpose of apprehending speeders. The initial cost to pur-chase and thenmaintain an aircraft are expensive—one of the main disadvantages of usingaircraft. More likely, traffic enforcement is one of many duties for which anaircraft will be used. Traffic enforcement is only one facet of the totalmission for an aircraft.

    Finally, this method requires additional officers for court testimony. Someagencies will attempt to limit the necessity to have aircraft crews testify incourt by having officers from the ground accompany the pilot so they cantestify when the case comes to court.

    Photo Radar.
    Photo Radar uses the same technology as other radar units but canbe used at both manned and unmanned loca-tions. It is effective if set upproperly and can also be used to photograph traffic light violators. Thepotential for detection is enormous since the violators are not stopped, but apermanent record is made of each for processing later. Photo radar is controversial because of the photographs and privacy issues. Vehicles must have front license plates so that both vehicle and driver can be photographed. A rear plate method can be used if driver identification is not required. This method may need legislation to makespeeding charges the civil responsibility of the owner of the vehicle.Although photo radar is technically sound, it may not be accepted by thecommunity because a police officer is not operating the unit for each targetvehicle. This method also does not allow any personal contact by the policeofficer who otherwise could exercise discretion by considering specialcircumstances, such as family emergencies or medical problems, that may causean individual to speed. While some might view this as a disadvantage, photoradar advocates would argue that officer discretion is not uniformly or fairlyadministered. Photo radar eliminates any arguments about the speed of thevehicle from the discussion between an officer and the violator at the scene ofan arrest and moves this discussion to an administrative or court hearing. Somefeel that since the photo radar does not discriminate that this method is themost fair type of speed enforcement that exists. This method does eliminate thepossibility of finding other violations of law such as carrying of contraband,or stolen property. Other offenses such as driving with a suspended license orwithout registration, or even driving under the influence are not discoveredusing this type of technology.

    Collision Investigation

    Collision Investigation

    Too often today, police agencies fail to investigate traffic collisions becauseof a lack of personnel and a shift in priorities. When this happens, we fail to“protect and serve” as we should.

    Purposes of Investigating and Reporting Collisions

    Ideally, a collision should be both investigated and reported. Policeadministrators must be mindful of the purposes of investigating and reporting.The ultimate purpose is to make our roads and highways safe. More immediatepurposes are to combat criminal activity, promote safety, and ensure justresults in civil litigation.

    Detecting At-Fault Drivers

    Although investigation frequently reveals who isprimarily responsible for the collision, sometimes technical reconstruction isrequired. The at-fault driver can be charged with the violation(s) that causedthe crash and, if convict-ed, can be punished or given remedial drivertraining. If the number of previous violations is sufficient for suspension ofthe driver's license, the individual can be taken off the road. If everycollision is not investigated as a matter of policy, many individuals whoshould be charged will slip by and may become involved in other, possiblyfatal, crashes.

    Detecting Incompetent Drivers

    A crash may be caused by a driver's physical ormental deterioration through illness or age. The investigator can requestretesting to determine if that individual can still drive safely, ifrestrictions should be imposed on him, or if his driving privilege should besuspended or revoked. In the absence of an investigation, such a driver wouldcontinue to be a highway menace.

    Apprehending Criminals

    Finally, the crash vehicle may be stolen or beingused for an unlawful purpose—transporting drugs or even abducting a kidnapvictim. If the crash is not investigated, the stolen vehicle or contrabandmight never be recovered nor the abducted person rescued. The driver may beevading arrest or recapture. If injured in the crash, the driver may be unableto flee and can be apprehended by the officer arriving at the scene. Without aninvestigation, these criminal acts might not be discovered and penalized,thereby causing the deterrent value of our laws to be eroded and makingenforcement more difficult.

    Motor Vehicle Homicides

    Vehicles have been used to cover up or carry out ahomicide. A body lying on the road and showing signs of having been run over bya vehicle may look like an ordinary hit-and-run, when actually the victim wasmurdered earlier in some other location by some other means. A driver found atthe bottom of a gorge pinned behind the steering wheel may appear to havefallen asleep and driven off the roadway, whereas he was really bludgeonedunconscious, buckled loosely into place behind the wheel, the accelerator pedaljammed in open throttle position and the selector lever pulled into DRIVE tosend the vehicle over the brink. To the unpracticed eye, the injuries from thebeating might be mistaken for those received from the impact of the vehiclewith the bottom of the gorge. The victim's death may have resulted not from theprevious blows but from internal injuries at impact. Unless such so-called“accidents” are thoroughly and critically investigated, sometimeswith the help of a forensic pathologist, the foul play might not be discovered,and the perpetrators might get away with their crime.

    Uninsured and Unlicensed Drivers

    The above purposes of collision investigationare the most familiar to the public. Such cases are highlighted regularly ontelevision and in the newspapers. Yet, other purposes that may not receive anypublicity are essential to traffic enforcement and contribute toward making ourroads safer. An investigation may reveal that the driver has no liabilityinsurance coverage or a valid license. A victim suffering property loss,injury, or death of a family member may find it costly, difficult, or impossible to receive compensation, without the findings ofa collision investigation.

    Defective Equipment

    Equipment problems also cause collisions. The crashvehicle may be uninspected and have a leaky exhaust system or worn brakelinings or pads. It may not meet the design and equipment standards mandated bylaw. This is especially important for heavy commercial vehicles, whose greatersize and weight make them especially formidable in a crash; or for a taxi orbus, whose deficiencies can expose many riders to injuries or even death.Without an investigation, such vehicles might not be taken off the road.

    Vehicle Design Defects

    Investigations may uncover problems in the design ofthe vehicle or equipment. It may be prone to roll overs, have its fuel tanklocated where it is particularly vulnerable, or come equipped with tiressusceptible to failure when underinflated. With no policy requiring theinvestigation of every collision, such findings might never come to light or berecorded; inherently dangerous designs would never be corrected. When thereports and the statistics do not support the charges, a record of theinvestigations of all crashes gives manufacturers a means to defend againstwrongful accusations of faulty product design.

    Roadway Defects

    An investigation can reveal problems with the roadway designor conditions, or with traffic control devices. Such problems may havecontributed to similar accidents in the past and continue, unless reported tothe Department of Transportation. How many times have drivers skidded off a wetpavement while negotiating an incorrectly banked curve, or sideswiped a carwhen attempting a last-second lane change on a highway with confusing orawkwardly placed turn arrows, or an exit sign hidden by an overgrown shrub?Insurance Settlements. Unrelated to safety but important to those affected, aninvestigation can provide a means for civil litigation to help the aggrievedparties recover just compensation, and establish a basis for insurancecompanies to determine payments for property damage, personal injury, medicalexpenses, and disability. A perceptive, well-trained officer will detect crashes thathave been staged to bilk insurance companies—a crime now of suchproportions that it adds substantially to the cost of insurance for everymotorist. If law enforcement settles for a filed report based solely on atelephone conversation between the desk sergeant and the driver, insurancefraud will flourish.

    Collision Reporting

    A collision should be properly investigated by a qualified officer; it is alsoimportant to file a standard accident report for every collision. These reportsallow the federal and state governments and law enforcement agencies to compilestatistics to assess objectively the effectiveness of police trafficenforcement. The concept of selective traffic law enforcement rests on datathat shows the violations that actually cause serious crashes, and thelocations and times when they are most likely to occur. These statistics alsohelp the police gauge the level of enforcement within each area of theirjurisdictions, beef up high collision areas, and move units from one locationto another as required. Insurance companies use these statistics to sortcollisions by sex, age, location and demographics, to aid in setting rates.

    Levels of Investigation

    The severity and circumstances of a collision will determine the proper levelof investigation. In their order of complexity, the levels are usually calledat-scene investigation, advanced (techni-cal) investigation, andreconstruction.

    At-Scene Investigation

    Basic to any collision is an at-scene investigation.Ideally, the first responding officer will conduct this and file a standardaccident report. Certain evidence, such as incipient skid marks or temporaryview obstructions (a vehicle parked on the shoulder at the time of the crash),tend to be short-lived. The sooner they are recorded, the better. But theofficer's first task is to make the collision scene safe and prevent a secondaccident. Traffic must be immediately redirected by means of cones and flares.Next, the officer must care for the injured, summoning a rescue unit if needed,and then observe and record facts pertaining to the collision. These includeall measurements, such as the length of tire marks and the final rest positionsof collision vehicles and bodies from permanent reference points; the dragfactor of the roadway surface; view obstructions; the condition of thecollision vehicles, including lamps and tires; the condition of the roadway,traffic signs and signals; and the weather and environmental conditions(daylight or nighttime). A field sketch should be made to show the direction oftravel of the vehicles and the location of all relevant objects.To document damage, the officer should photograph the vehicles and thecollision scene, and permit measurements to be made from the photos ifnecessary. Photos are particularly persuasive in court. Finally, the officershould check all drivers for indications of intoxication or other impairment,interview all drivers and witnesses, and record their addresses and telephonenumbers.

    The at-scene investigation is concerned primarily with data gathering andrecording. It may also involve some interpretation of the collected data. Forexample, from the skid mark measurements and the drag factor, the officer cancalculate the minimum speed of the vehicle at the beginning of the skid.Ideally, every officer should be qualified to conduct an at-sceneinvestigation. An officer can become qualified by attending and successfullycompleting a state-approved course. Such courses generally consist of classroomand hands-on training of 40 to 80 hours. They may be conducted by a municipalpolice department, a county sheriff's office, the state highway patrol or statepolice, a POST council, or by a private law enforcement training organizationor institute.

    Application of Technology to At-Scene Investigation

    The Washington State Patrol and other agencies have discovered that the use of LIDAR devices in their distance measurement mode can save considerable time at crash scenes,provide more accurate measurements, clear the roadway and restore the trafficflow in a speedier fashion, and return the investigating officer to patrolduties. Using LIDAR for crash measurements requires the proper training of the officerswho will use it; in addition, laser targets must be developed, carried in thepatrol vehicle, and deployed at locations where the point of object to bemeasured from does not present an adequate target for the LIDAR device.

    Advanced (Technical) Investigation

    Whereas an at-scene investigation should beconducted for every collision, an advanced investigation is undertaken only forserious collisions. Its purpose is to collect additional data for determiningcharges to be brought against one or more of the individuals involved, or forlitigation reasons, or for laying the foundation for the next level ofinvestigation, reconstruction.

    Unlike the at-scene investigation, which is initiated immediately or as soon aspracticable after the collision, the advanced investigation may take place at alater time. Data, including that from the at-scene investigation, will beinterpreted as well as collected. Since much of the evidence at the scene mayalready have disappeared, the advanced investigation may depend heavily on thecompleteness and accuracy of the data recorded in the at-scene investigation.The advanced investigation may be conducted by the same officer who conductedthe at-scene investigation. He is expected to determine the drag factor of the skid surface(s) and the minimum initial speedof each vehicle (unless already caluculated in the at-scene investigation);determine time-distance relationships and solve momentum problemsmatch marks on the roadway with the parts on the vehicle causing this damage todetermine the point of impact; determine what is impact damage to the vehicle and what is contact damage; match the damaged areas of the vehicles to determine the principal direction of force (PDOF); correlate injuries with the parts of the vehicle impacted by the occupants (occupant kinematics);determine if headlamps and other lamps were ON or OFF at impact;determine if any fire damage occurred before or after impact;determine if a mechanical or electrical failure contributed to the accident(this may require the help of a specialist); andprepare a scale drawing of the scene from measurements and notes made at thescene or, if necessary, from photos (photogrammetry).Officers can receive advanced investigation training by successfully completinga state-approved course at this level. The length of this training is up to 80hours, and includes classroom instruction and hands-on activities. Aprerequisite is usually the completion of a basic collision investigationcourse, such as at-scene investigation, or several years' practical experiencein at-scene investigation.

    Collision Reconstruction

    Reconstruction is the highest of the three majorlevels of investigation, and is usually undertaken only in support oflitigation or research. Its main purpose is to determine how the collisionoccurred. It deals primarily with direct and immediate causes of the crash.These frequently entail behavioral errors on the part of the drivers. Thefindings are mostly objective, supported by the facts uncovered or determinedby investigation at any of the three levels. The purpose may be extended toattempt a determination of why the collision happened (called “causeanalysis” and sometimes regarded as a separate and even higher level ofinvestigation). This phase looks at all the circumstances of the crash in order to identify the probable and possiblecontributing factors. The findings are to some extent speculative. Take, forexample, a case where two vehicles crash head-on. The direct cause is that onevehicle suddenly crossed the center line and encroached on the opposite travellane, placing this vehicle in the path of an on-coming vehicle. The probableindirect cause may be that the driver of the encroaching vehicle fell asleep,inasmuch as the collision occurred at 3:00 a.m., and the driver had beendriving continuously since the previous noon.

    Reconstruction expands on all the principles of at-scene and advancedinvestigation. In addition, it includes impulse, or the force exerted by eachvehicle upon the other, and energy loss through crush, or the extent ofdeformation of the vehicle caused by the impulse. It may involve experiments toascertain performance and other capabilities of the vehicle, or to determinedriver and pedestrian behavior. Reconstruction entails assembling all thetechnical data required to build a case for court.Among the duties of the reconstructionist are the following:cooperating closely with the attorney, if litigation is involved; interpretingphotos, information contained in field notes, and all other recorded data fromthe at-scene and advanced investigations;matching paint, glass and vehicle parts found at the scene to the vehicle beingsought after its driver fled;determining the driver of each vehicle;determining occupant movement (occupant kinematics) and how injuries werereceived; checking all calculations made previously and perform any additionalcalculations required; reaching conclusions as to how the collision occurred; being able to prove the conclusions or offer persuasive evidence insupport of them; and preparing scale diagrams of the scene, vehicle and body positions,time-distance relationships, and momentum vectors as needed for the courtroompresentation.

    Although a reconstructionist usually has greater depth of knowledge andbroader experience than an investigator qualified only in at-scene or advancedinvestigations, and can make more inferences from existing data, he is verydependent on the thoroughness and quality of the investigations conducted atthe scene, and may have to work largely with the evidence that has beenpreserved and recorded earlier.Officers can receive training in reconstruction by attending a state-approvedcourse of up to 80 hours in length. Such a course combines classroominstruction with hands-on activities. The pre-requisite is usually successfulcompletion of a state-approved course in advanced (technical) investigation.

    Use of Statistical Databases

    Computers make it easy to gather many facts into a database. Today, highwaysafety databases are available to government, law enforcement agencies,insurance companies, or any interested party. Their scope ranges from highlyspecialized to very broad. Several are compiled by the National Center forStatistics and Analysis (NCSA) operated by the National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration (NHTSA).NHTSA's Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS), established in 1975, collectsand tabulates data on fatal accidents from all 50 states, the District ofColumbia, and Puerto Rico. NHTSA contracts with each state government toprovide information on fatal crashes within the state. Using a standard format,analysts input data directly into NHTSA's central data file by microcomputerand modem. Each crash report has 90 coded elements that are reported on threeforms:

  • accident form (time and location of crash, first harmful event, if hit-and-run, if school bus involved, number of persons and vehicles, weather conditions)

  • vehicle/driver form (vehicle type, role of vehicle in crash, impact points, most harmful event, driver's record and license status)

  • person form (age and sex of each person, whether driver/passenger/non-motorist; alcohol and drug involvement, injury severity, straint us).

  • Although FARS is focused strictly on fatalities, its data may be used inevaluations pertaining to a wide range of issues, among them, legal drinkingage legislation, motorcycle helmet legislation, repeat offenders, restraintuse, 65 mph speed limit, safety design of cars and light trucks, and safety oflarge trucks on the highway.

    NHTSA's General Estimates System (GES), was established in 1988 toidentify highway safety problem areas, provide a basis for regulatory andconsumer initiatives, and form the basis for the cost/benefit analyses ofhighway safety programs. It covers approximately 45,000 crashes per year of allseverities, from property damage through fatals, reported on roads throughoutthe United States, and involving all types of vehicles. Coders contract-ed toNHTSA enter the data directly from a sampling of police collision reports.The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also operates a number of databasesystems, especially those dealing with commer-cial vehicles.

    Selective Enforcement Programs

    Among the police traffic safety programs shaped by conclusions drawn fromstatistical databases, Selective Traffic Enforcement (STEP) probably has thewidest recognition. This program addresses the kinds of traffic violations thatare major causes of collisions, and concentrates enforcement at those locationswhere most of these violations and resulting collisions occur, at the times ofday and days of the week when their incidence is the highest. With the limitedresources available to law enforcement, the program attempts to maximize theproductive use of officer time to achieve a meaningful reduction in fatalities,injuries and property damage. The STEP program relies on the existence of an effective traffic recordssystem. The system should be uniform within the state so that the data isrecorded uniformly and facilitates proper analysis. Data from collisions shouldbe analyzed as well as data from citations issued and reports generated bytraffic officers. A data-base provides an objective guide to designing theprogram. It indicates where a problem actually lies, not where somebody thinksit lies. A program not matched to the problems pointed out by data will missthe mark, and can never bring good results.

    In establishing an STLE program, an agency should appoint an effectivemanager. He should adopt practical measures that address the problemsidentified by the data, assign the required number of officers to eachidentified high collision-frequency location, and provide them with properequipment. The agency should continue to collect data after implementation ofthe program, and use the resulting updated database when evaluating theprogram. Regular evaluation is essential to keep abreast of changes inviolation and collision patterns, to discard a program revealed to beineffective, and to introduce modifications to further improve an alreadyeffective program.

    Liaison of Law Enforcement with Traffic Engineering and Roadway Maintenance

    Although the police can control the drivers and vehicles on the roadwaysthrough enforcement and thereby make the roadways safer, they cannot directlyremedy unsafe roadway design and markings or perform needed roadwayrepairs—functions that are also basic to roadway safety. They arenevertheless in a position to observe and discover these unsafe conditions, andreport them to the local Department of Transportation, or whatever governmentoffice is responsible for traffic engineering and trafficway maintenance.Certain collision data contained on the standard collision report form usedstatewide by all law enforcement agencies—number and types of vehiclesinvolved, location, time of day, day of week, and violation(s) causing thecollision—are reported to the state. The state tabulates and analyzes thisinformation and, if the referral procedure is working, informs the Departmentof Transportation of any problems in their jurisdiction. If correcting theproblem is complex or would involve a major change, the DOT may first initiatean engineering study to determine if correction is feasible and how best tocarry it out. Since the referral procedure sometimes gets bogged down, thepolice agency that has observed an unsafe trafficway condition, or reported acollision in which an unsafe trafficway condition was a contributory cause, should contact thelocal DOT office directly by telephone or memo. The effectiveness of thisinformal referral system depends on the dedication of both the reporting policeagency and the local DOT office, and on the degree of rapport that existsbetween them. For law enforcement officers the lesson here, as in many otheraspects of police work, is that law enforcement cannot accomplish everyobjective on its own. Good liaison and good relations with other organizationsare essential.

    Through the cooperative efforts of the groups specializing in each of the areasdiscussed in this chapter, our highways will be made safer.


    Commercial Vehicle and Hazardous Materials Regulation

    Commercial Vehicle Safety

    Commercial vehicle safety became a national priority only a few years ago.Before that, state and provincial authorities developed safety programsindependently. The resulting welter of conflicting requirements createdconfusion for commercial vehicle operators, and an uneven effect upon highwaysafety.


    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations: In 1986, the U.S. Department ofTransportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) responded to theproliferation of state programs by adopt-ing the Commercial Motor VehicleSafety Act. This act defined new national standards for commercial drivers, theequipment and maintenance of vehicles, and the fitness of operating companies.These standards are now incorporated in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR),Title 49. FHWA policy encourages states to enforce uniformly these regulations for bothinterstate and intrastate drivers and carriers. Federal regulations tend tofocus on interstate transportation, whereas intrastate regulation becomeslargely a state and local responsibility. Safety considerations dictateconsistent application of commercial enforcement and inspection efforts in bothrealms.

    Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program: The FHWA also administers the MotorCarrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP), which provides grant funding tostates seeking to enhance their commercial enforcement efforts, particularlythose addressed to the safe movement of hazardous materials. A practical impactof MCSAP grants is significant expansion of on-highway truck inspections.The awarding of MCSAP funds hinges on state submission of detailed stateenforcement plans (SEPs), which must permit the state to adopt and consistentlyenforce federal commercial vehicle regulations or equivalent state rules;maintain state and local spending for commercial vehicle safety programs atlevels existing prior to receipt of the grants; and emphasize enforcement ofstate and local laws related to commercial vehicle operation.

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance: Several states recognized the urgencyof devising uniform commercial vehicle inspection procedures, and in October1980, they formed the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Thisorganization grew rapidly and now numbers 49 states, 10 Canadian provinces,Mexico, two U.S. territories, and the commercial vehicle industry. The allianceseeks enforcement and inspection compatibility between jurisdictions, whichpermits reciprocal acceptance of inspections performed by memberjurisdictions. A vehicle subjected to roadside inspection in one state is issued a CVSAwindshield decal, which is recognized by the other states for 90 days, thusavoiding unnecessary and repetitive inspections.Because CVSA has become the major arbiter of commercial vehicle inspectionprocedures throughout North America, the FHWA and other national organizationsaccept and recommend the use of CVSA Standards.

    SAFETYNET: SAFETYNET is the information arm of MCSAP. This automated networkaccepts safety data collected through MCSAP by participating states, and makesit available to other participating jurisdictions.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

    Federal regulations deal with commercial (truck and bus) drivers, operatingcompanies, and vehicles. Drivers were brought under the umbrella of the federally required butstate-issued commercial driver's license (CDL). A CDL requires advanced levelsof knowledge and operating skill. Bus and truck drivers must demonstratebehind-the-wheel capability in the types of vehicles they seek to operate.Specific license endorse-ments are required to haul hazardous materials or todrive passen-ger transport vehicles, double/triple trailers, or tankvehicles. The written knowledge exam for a CDL tests not only the fundamental areas ofdriving rules and safety considerations but also an understanding of air brakesystems, hazardous materials, and pre-trip inspection procedures.Drivers may hold only a single CDL issued by their home states, thus ending theformerly common practice of obtaining multiple licenses to circumvent licensesuspensions or revocations in a particular jurisdiction. CDL information iscentralized in the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS),which is accessible to state motor vehicle licensing agencies. Applicants for acommercial license can be routinely checked through CDLIS. Federal standardsalso define circumstances that can lead to revocation of the CDL.Carriers are subject to federal on-site review of vehicle inspection andmaintenance procedures and records, driver qualifications and hours of servicecompliance, accident histories and related subjects. Carriers receive a“safety fitness” rating—certain aspects of the company'soperating authority can be terminated for carriers judged unsatisfactory. Somestates maintain similar or more restrictive statewide inspection and ratingsystems, which generally reach more carriers more often than the federalsystem. Carrier evaluations form an essential element of an overall commercialvehicle safety program.

    Police officers who are unfamiliar with commercial vehicle enforcementfrequently find it difficult to recognize who is the motor carrier whenstopping a truck on the highway. In some cases involving an owner/operator, thedriver and the carrier may be one and the same. In other cases, the carrier maybe a third party other than either the driver or the owner of the vehicle. The motor carrierwill generally be licensed with an ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) or theU.S. DOT identification number conspicuously displayed on the outside of thevehicle. Vehicles must conform to federal requirements for equipment, markings,placarding, and operating condition. State requirements sometimes are morestringent than the federal ones. Most commercial vehicle inspections areconducted by state authorities, whether on-highway or in-terminal.

    Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Programs

    Effective commercial vehicle enforcement programs include three major elements:

  • on-highway enforcement against moving viola-tions by officers on regular patrol

  • inspections of both vehicles and terminals

  • the weighing of trucks.

  • Road patrol officers need no additional training to enforce truck movingviolations such as speeding and unsafe lane changes. But for officers makingeven cursory checks of commercial vehicle equipment, maintenance and loading,special knowledge is essen-tial, along with instruction in assessing thevalidity of truck registrations.

    On-highway enforcement historically is complicated by trucker reliance on CBradios and other communications techniques to thwart patrol officers.Counter-strategies have sprung up. One of the more effective is police use ofspecially marked vehicles (patrol cars of different makes, models, colors, andmarkings) not readily identifiable as patrol cars. Some states employcompletely unmarked vehicles, an equally helpful tool. Truckers who try tobypass weigh stations and safety checkpoints can be counteracted by additionalpatrol units on parallel routes, or chase cars.

    The growing use of commercial vehicles to transport illegal drugs emphasizesthe possibility that a traffic stop may harbor the potential for a major drug seizure. How to recognize that potential, andhow to proceed in a fashion that does not jeopardize subsequent prosecution,requires special training in commercial vehicle drug interdiction techniques.

    Commercial Vehicle Inspections

    Many states have standardized their commercial vehicle safety checks of trucksand buses, utilizing the CVSA standards. Under CVSA, there are five levels ofinspection. Level I, the most thorough inspection, includes both vehicle anddriver and requires approximately 42-48 minutes without placing the vehicle outof service. Trucks and buses that pass receive a CVSA decal, valid for 90 days.During that period, member jurisdictions typically waive repeat inspections,concentrating instead on vehicles without decals. This in-depth inspection iscalled the North American Uniform Driver/Vehicle Inspection Program (NUDVIP),also labeled North American Standard, or NAS.

    Other levels of inspection are less pervasive and require less time, exceptLevel V, the in-terminal inspection of a vehicle, which can be as detailed asNUDVIP and result in the issuance of a certificate.The driver of a vehicle bearing a valid CVSA sticker might be subject to a“driver only inspection” that, among other procedures, checks hislicense, log book, safety belt use, driver sobriety, and the vehicle checklistcompleted by the driver.

    A program of complete commercial vehicle safety must include size and weightlimits, vehicle equipment, compliance with permit and federal motor carrierregulations requirements, towing, load and securement, and special vehicles,such as school buses, if applicable, and farm labor vehicles. A comprehensive program reaches commercial vehicles in several possiblelocations to ensure reasonably thorough coverage, and contacts carriers via terminal inspections. Vehicles are typicallyinspected and weighed at major scale/inspection facilities, and by rovingcommercial vehicle enforcement officers. Other facilities may include platformscales, pit scales, and multiple sites.

    Terminal inspectors check driver timekeeping records and hours of service,maintenance procedures and vehicle condition, compli-ance with hazardousmaterials regulations, and safety practices of passenger stage carriers andhazardous materials transporters. Everyone involved in the inspection process, from uniform police officers tocivilian inspectors, must have completed the training pertinent to theirassignments.

    Some state agencies maintain computerized information on carriers and shippers,collating vehicle inspection data, accident and hazardous material histories,incident histories, on-highway enforcement information, and terminal inspectionfindings in one central database. SafetyNet, the FHWA database, attempts asimilar national approach, utilizing information made available from thestates. Driver and Vehicle Exam Reports that reflect the North AmericanStandards of FHWA and the out-of-service criteria of the CVSA form the base forthe federal SafetyNet information system.

    Data Collection From Commercial Vehicle Citations

    Various data are used as part of a national strategy to focus inspections onaudits of commercial motor carriers. Crash statistics and information, as wellas complaints, are collected to identify those carriers in most need ofattention. The Congress has mandated that the Federal Highway Administrationcollect citation data from state and local law enforcement agencies to beincluded in this decision-making process.

    State-level police agencies are being asked to report moving violations to theFHWA and to collect this information from county and local agencies as well. Amajor concern of state police agencies is how to modify citation forms toinclude the U.S. DOT number, or some other carrier identification, since thisdata needs to be tracked to the motor carrier rather than to the individualdriver. Another issue is how to transmit the data to FHWA.Pilot projects were set up in several states to measure the effectiveness ofthis data in triggering terminal audits of motor carriers to uncover safetyviolations, as well as to determine the technical and administrative problemsinvolved in capturing the data.

    Hazardous Materials Transportation Enforcement

    The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that four billion tons ofregulated hazardous materials move annually in America, much of it on highways.That huge and growing volume increases a chance that an accident or incidentwill release a harmful product, requiring a specialized response.Federal emphasis on the safety of hazardous materials trans-portation, echoedstrongly by the states, seeks to prevent spills and the crashes that can resultin spills, and to increase state and local capability to handle spills with theleast adverse consequences for people and property.

    In 1986, the Office of Technology Assessment compiled a bell-wether report onhazardous materials movement in America and concluded that most hazardousproducts are transported without incident, yet the potential remains forcatastrophe. Singled out as a foremost problem were people who are poorlytrained, who don't coordinate well, or who fail to communicate thoroughly.For police and fire departments—the first responders to a hazard-ousmaterials incident—the most uncomfortable statistic was that only one infour uniformed personnel had received adequate train-ing to deal with ahazardous material spill.

    Today, that percentage has increased, but training remains a cardinal issue forlaw enforcement, particularly police traffic agencies, whose personnelinvariably will be the first arrivers at any highway incident.

    Federal Regulations

    Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains the general requirementsfor hazardous material transportation in America. It classifies and defineshazardous materials; lists packaging requirements including design, testing,and labeling; describes vehicle loading, marking, and placarding requirements;explains shipping papers; lists necessary emergency response information; laysout employee training specifications; and addresses driving, parking, and routeselection rules, with special reference to the movement of radioactivematerials. The federal Research and Special Products Administration (RSPA) has alsoproduced guides describing procedures for inspecting shipments of hazardousmaterials, radioactive materials, and spent nuclear fuel, as well as cargotanks. Some states have built upon these federal regulations by developing inmore detail such elements as safe routes and stopping places, and handling ofspecific materials like explosives and radioactive substances.

    Further federal transport requirements were formalized in the HazardousMaterials Transportation Uniform Safety Act (HMTUSA) of 1990. This act, whichdescribes the urgency of developing a national program to promote public healthand welfare, began to untangle the web of conflicting state and localrequirements essentially by pre-empting them, and calls once more forfar-reaching training of first responders.

    An alliance for uniform hazardous material transportation proce-dures, made upof 28 state and local government officials, has been charged by HMTUSA todevelop guidelines that state and local jurisdictions can use for registeringand issuing permits to hazardous materials carriers.The alliance was formed to present recommendations to the DOT for inclusion infuture federal regulations. State registration and permit programs may bepre-empted unless they conform to these regulations. To test its recommendations, the alliance developed a pilotstate registration program which incorporated a “base state” processfor the registration of hazardous materials carriers.Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED)

    COHMED is a joint federal-state-local-private sector effort to promote uniformenforcement of hazardous materials transporta-tion regulations. Theorganization is administered by state enforce-ment officials, and parallels theCVSA in its intent to bring uniformity to the specialized area of hazardousmaterials regulation and enforcement.

    An outgrowth has been the Hazardous Materials Information Exchange (HMIX), atwo-way communication service through which state and local organizations canobtain information on training opportunities, conferences, and literature. HMIXpartici-pants can also communicate with each other via computer hookups.Other training sources include the Hazardous Materials Advisory Council (HMAC),which sponsors a variety of specialized courses in conjunction with the RSPA;the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI), a federal training center located inOklahoma City; and various hazardous materials program policy documentsproduced by state agencies.

    Hazardous Materials Incident Emergency Management

    The Superfund Amendments and Re-authorization Acts (SARA) of 1986 required thefederal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prepareregulations, now identified as Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, toprotect employees involved in handling hazardous waste. The regulations alsodefine the training requirements for personnel, including police officers, whorespond to hazardous materials incidents.CFR 29 now describes five levels of training for emergency responders. Threeare particular pertinent to police:

  • the first responder awareness level, for a person who understands the hazards and risks of a hazardous materials spill and triggers the response necessary to protect life and property;

  • the first responder operations level, which requires knowledge of spill containment and how to minimize exposure risk

  • on-scene commander level, for a person with the capability and authority to take charge and direct all facets of protecting public safety and the containment and neutralization of the spill.

  • For the awareness level, training must be sufficient to ensure competency inunderstanding hazardous materials and the inherent risks associated with aspill or incident; recognizing the presence of hazardous materials andidentifying their type, if possible; understanding the employer's emergencyresponse plan and the need for site control; and making notification to thecommunications center in recognizing the need for additional resources.First responder operations level training, usually a minimum of eight hours,must include the first responder awareness elements plus the knowledge tochoose proper protective equipment for on-scene personnel; the ability toperform basic spill containment and confinement procedures consistent withequipment and personnel available at the scenes; an understanding of basicdecontamination procedures and how to initiate them; and an understanding ofoperating procedures at the scene.

    On-scene incident commander training, usually an additional 24 hours, must besufficient to ensure competency in properly conducting the agency's incidentcommand system, initiating agency emergency responses, and coordinating anemergency response with other agencies that may become involved. In addition,the trainee must know the risks faced by people working on-scene at a hazardousmaterials spill, including personnel wearing chemical protective clothing; be aware of both the state andfederal regional response plans or teams; and realize the importance ofdecontamination procedures and know how to conduct them.The importance of constant police readiness emphasizes the need for thoroughtraining, reinforced by frequent in-service updates for both management andline personnel.

    Every police vehicle used for traffic patrol should carry in it the latest copyof the federal DOT Emergency Response Guide. This concise book contains a rapidreference by which officers can determine, from the numbers and otherinformation on placards and shipping papers, the classification of hazardousmaterials being transported and the general cautions and instructions forcontainment of spills and evacuation of the public.For further information on incident management and control, see Part Eleven,“Roadway Management Through Engineering and Enforcement.”

    The Driver Licensing System

    Driver Licensing

    Licenses are generally issued by the motor vehicle administrators of thevarious states and provinces. As well as serving as a national identifier ofpersons, the driver's license system is used for the rapid identification ofpersons who are driving motor vehicles; the operation of a classified licensesystem which provides separate written and skill tests for various types ofvehicles such as motorcycles, passenger vehicles, and commercial vehicles; apoint system for targeting unsafe drivers for license suspension or revocationto remove hazardous drivers from the roads; and identifying and trackingtraffic violators through the court system and preventing persons fromdefaulting on traffic citations.

    The License as a Positive Identifier

    When first issued, driver's licenses were intended to verify that the holdercomplied with the regulations associated with vehicle operation.Photographs were later added to aid in positive identification and to reducefictitious usage. Strategies to prevent counterfeiting include the use ofthumbprints and holograms. Many licenses even contain magnetic strips and barcodes to provide for the electronic recording of driver license information ifa citation is issued in the field. A driver's license typically contains a variety of information, including thedriver's date of birth, his social security number as a primary or secondaryidentifier, his blood-type, an indication if the driver is an organ donor, and certain physical characteristics such as height, weight, hair and eye color.

    Over a period of time, the driver's license has assumed the role of a positiveidentifier. This acceptance is based upon the belief that an effectivescreening process is employed to verify that the license data is valid. Today,the license has become the means to use legal instruments, to obtain socialbenefits, and to gain access to restricted areas and services.The state agencies issuing driver's licenses are finding that positiveidentification of applicants is nearly impossible because of the absence of anational identification system. The U.S. birth certificate system isineffective for identification purposes. Coupled with the problems ofidentification presented by legal and illegal aliens, the use of a driver'slicense as a national identifier is not reliable. In the past several years, the use of a digital image photo license hasincreased. Over 15 states and provinces are using this technologicalbreakthrough, which provides more effective securi-ty and identification. Inaddition, photographic information can be transmitted via computer to officersin the field.

    The AAMVA recently began a project to standardize identification means whenissuing driver's licenses. The problem of alien identification remains anunaddressed issue at the national level. Another major problem is the use of fraudulent driver's licenses by minors topurchase alcoholic beverages. A number of states have addressed this problemthrough the use of special licenses, or the addition of identifying features tothe licenses of persons under the age of 2,1 so that they may be readilyidentified by law enforcement and other persons.

    National Driver's License Compact

    The National Driver's License Compact (NDLC) program has several administrativecomponents, including an application to law enforcement.Prior to the NDLC, a person in one state who was convicted of a trafficviolation in a neighboring state would not have that violation reported orcharged against his record in his home state. Also, nonresident drivers whowere issued citations were often physically arrested and required to post bondor surety for court appearances for even non-jailable motor vehicle offenses.Under the NDLC program, which is administered by the American Association ofMotor Vehicle Administrators, the majority of states report violations bynonresidents to the driver's home state. The charges are then added to theoffender's driving record as though the violations occurred in the homestate.

    For example, a driver charged with DUI in an NDLC state will have his licensesuspended in his home state as well. Also, nonresident drivers can promise toappear in court, or pay a waiver and be released without bond. If he fails tosatisfy the court appearance, a mechanism permits the issuing state to revokethe driver's privileges until he complies with the laws of the other state.A total of 43 states now participate in the NDLC.

    Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

    State government has traditionally retained the responsibility of issuing andregulating driver's licenses. Upon conviction, the courts have been committedto limit or suspend driver's licenses or operating privileges. A current trendis to remove the license sanction from the courts, to eliminate unnecessarydelays associated with court backlogs, and to reduce the impact of plea bargaining.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advocates the on-the-spotrevocation by police officers who arrest drivers for driving under theinfluence of alcohol or drugs.

    In states with this legislation, police officers are empowered to confiscatethe driver's license of a person arrested for impaired driving when that personeither refuses a chemical test of blood, breath or urine or tests above theprescribed limit. The license is usually forwarded to the licensing agency, andthe holder is issued a temporary permit to drive pending a hearing. The benefitof ALR is that action is less complicated and immediately removes a knownhazardous driver from the roads.

    Most states have some version of ALR in operation; it is a condition for somestates to receive additional federal highway safety funds.

    Digital Image Photo Licenses

    Advancement in technology now gives the ability to produce a digital photodriver license. These documents offer advantages over the old photo technology. Centralelectronic image storage makes access to the pictures and information mucheasier. Many of the fraudulent practices that plagued photo technology areeliminated by digital imaging. Multiple duplicate driver's licenses, held bythe same or different people, become practically impossible to obtain when theperson applying for a duplicate license has himself compared to the digitalimage of the original applicant. Comparison under the old photo technology waseither cumbersome or impossible.

    Electronic auditing of driver license production also helps eliminate abuse byoperators to create fraudulent licenses which are used in check and credit cardfraud, drug trafficking, and, especially, illegal immigration.The implications for law enforcement go far beyond these obvious benefits. Witha central image database of every driver in a state, the public safetycommunity has a ready-made storehouse of photos to be used in criminalinvestigations. Due to the electronic nature of these images, they can beobtained in seconds via a computer retrieval unit in the department or evenfaxed or thermal printed directly to the patrol car. These same images can alsobe brought into a photo array for suspect identification. The uses for theseimages are limited only by the wants and needs of the public safetycommunity.

    Not to be forgotten is the importance of the actual driver license itself. Withthe aid of computer technology, the license can now be made more secure andtamper-proof than ever before. Magnetic stripe encoding, a technology currently employed in banking, can be usedin tandem with this electronic record to provide even greater help to policetraffic enforcement. Additionally, recent technological advances intwo-dimensional bar coding enhances security and assists in providingadditional data to the public safety community, specifically to the patrolofficer. Citations can be issued much more quickly and efficiently. Use of thistechnology also eliminates multiple entry points for the information.

    A typical traffic stop could go something like this: The driver's license withan encoded magnetic stripe and bar code is read by an in-car unit. This unitthen transmits the information to the department's system which runs a standardcheck of traffic and criminal records on the individual. This information isreturned to the car, either by the dispatcher or through an in-car computer.This same computer could also display the photo of the driver from the driverslicense database. Information on the type of violation is then entered into theunit. This generates the printed citation to be given to the driver and at thesame time updates the departmental computer and transfers the violationinformation electronically to the courts and the DMV. As can be seen, thebenefits of this technology have far reaching implications.

    Fifteen jurisdictions have already converted to this technology, and manyothers are doing so presently. Work is progressing on digital standards (commondata elements and compatible records) so that a national and, perhaps, aninternational network of digitized images can be established. This progressemphasizes the importance of public safety and particularly the law enforcementcommunity's efforts to maintain a proactive relationship with motor vehicledepartments. These technological advancements must be continually monitored and promoted sothat law enforcement can take full advantage of them and be able to use asecure document.

    Generally, a committee is established in each jurisdiction to evaluatethe needs of agencies affected by a plan to convert to a digital image photolicense. This committee may also have the responsibility of evaluating vendorproposals to accomplish this conversion. Representation on these evaluationcommittees should be sought by the law enforcement community so that theirneeds and wants will be considered.

    The public safety community and particularly law enforcement should becontinually alert to legislation that limits and/or precludes the transmissionof the digital image driver's license and pertinent information to a policeofficer.

    Detecting Suspended and Revoked Driver's Licenses

    The revocation or suspension of a driver's license is potentially veryeffective because it separates persons with physical or mental disabilities, orthose with poor driving records or attitudes from the other users of ourhighways. In practice, however, this strategy is not as effective because many personscontinue to drive after their driving privileges have been suspended or revokedand are not detected by law enforcement. This problem leads to a breakdown inrespect for the law, clutters our highways with dangerous drivers, andfrustrates the criminal justice and driver licensing processes.Although detecting and apprehending suspended or revoked drivers is difficult,few police activities yield higher dividends in improving traffic safety andpromoting respect for the law. Several associations, including the AAMVA, advocate strict enforcement of lawsrelating to the operation of vehicles while licenses are suspended or revoked.Repeated national studies ind-icate that license suspensions are the mosteffective sanction used in traffic law enforcement.

    The Need for A Policy

    Police agencies need policies to ensure that appropriate enforce-ment action istaken when a suspended or revoked driver's license is found. The policy shouldnot permit an officer to lodge a charge of driving without a license as asubstitute for driving after suspension. Policies should advocate that drivingafter suspension cases are pursued to conviction and not dropped as part of aplea bargain, especially when accompanied by DUI charges. When a motorist displays a suspended or revoked license, the individual shouldbe charged with that separate offense as well as driving after suspension. Thelicense should be confiscated and returned to the state licensing agency.Police agencies should form task forces to contact anyone who fails to turn intheir license if it is under suspension or revocation. Officers shouldconfiscate the license and return it to the licensing authority. The individualshould be charged with failing to surrender a suspended or revoked license.Violator-directed patrols are effective when police departments are notified bylicensing agencies of the suspension or revocation of a person who is anhabitual motor vehicle offender.

    The National Driver Register (NDR)

    The National Driver Register (NDR) is a central repository of information onindividuals whose driver’s licenses have been revoked, suspended,cancelled, or denied, or who have been convicted of certain serioustraffic-related violations, such as driving while impaired by alcohol or otherdrugs. When an individual applies for a license, state driver licensing officialsquery the NDR to determine if the individual’s driving privilege has beenwithdrawn in any other state. Because the NDR is a nationwide index to driverrecords from all states, a state needs to submit only a single inquiry toobtain this information. The information obtained from the NDR assists thestate driver licensing official in determining whether or not to issue alicense. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administrationalso use the NDR to process their inquiries for the detection of drivingviolations, especially alcohol-related, among their applicants forcertification. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard recently was authorized toreceive NDR information regarding their applicants for certification.Fifty states have established electronic access to the NDR file—a majorstep for states that issue licenses over the counter rather than require awaiting period.

    During 1993, the NDR processed over 25 million file checks for all users of theNDR, which resulted in over one million probable identifications, or matches.As required by Public Law 97-364, the NDR is converting to a Problem DriverPointer System (PDPS) to improve the timeliness and reliability of NDRinformation. Under the PDPS, the NDR will no longer contain substantive data. Instead, it will contain onlyidentifying information to enable it to check whether or not adverse action hasbeen taken against an individual—not specific information about why anindividual’s name appears on the NDR file; such information will bemaintained by the state that executed the adverse action. When a match occurswith a record on the NDR file, the NDR will electronically point to the statewhere the adverse action is maintained, retrieve that information, and relay itto the state of inquiry. In this way, the state of inquiry is assured ofreceiving the latest information available regarding the driver’srecord.

    PDPS conversion involves not only making system changes at the NDR but alsoproviding technical and training assistance to states in their conversionefforts, including a Help Desk staffed by a small group of systems analysts.Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, and Virginia—the four states thatparticipated in the PDPS Pilot Test Program in 1987 to 1988—continue tooperate under the PDPS concept. Florida will be the first new state toimplement PDPS, scheduled for July, with an additional 11 to 15 statesscheduled for implementation by the end of 1993.

    Motorcycle Licensing Requirements

    Motorcycle collisions contribute significantly to the large number of deathsand injuries occurring on our nation's highways.They account for nearly seven percent of all traffic deaths in this country butrepresent only two percent of the nation's registered vehicles. More than 80percent of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, and DWI on amotorcycle is an especially risky venture.

    In a recent year, more than 2,400 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes.The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for a motorcyclist isover 20 times that of an automobile occupant.

    The Problem of Unlicensed Motorcyclists

    A substantial number of the riders killed in motorcycle crashes are unlicensedor not properly licensed to operate a motorcycle. In 1993, of the total 2,435motorcycle operators involved in fatal motorcycle crashes, 991 (40.7 percent)were not licensed to drive a motorcycle. Of those 991 operators, 158 (6.5percent) had no license whatsoever, and 833 (34.2 percent) did not have a validmotorcycle license or endorsement. The number of improperly licensed motorcycledrivers involved in fatal motorcycle crashes has remained at approximately 40percent for the most recent five years.

    The following list of motorcycle validation codes is provided to assistofficers who stop motorcyclists to determine if the license is valid for theoperation of a motorcycle.


    State Code
















    District of Columbia







    Class 2




    No Requirement































    New Hampshire


    New Jersey


    New Mexico


    New York


    North Carolina


    North Dakota










    Rhode Island


    South Carolina


    South Dakota














    West Virginia







    Protection of Automobile and Motorcycle Occupants and Riders

    Occupant Protection and Enforcement

    A little more than a decade ago, highway safety priorities counted safety beltand child safety seat use as just one of many goals— an important one, butnot a priority. The drunk driver commanded somewhat more attention but not tothe degree this menace deserved.Today that has all changed and we address both subjects with equalvigor—removing drunk drivers from behind the wheel and putting all vehicleoccupants into approved safety restraints. Alcohol-related fatalities dropped 26 percent between 1983 and 1993, decliningnearly 10 percent in 1991 alone. Alcohol-related deaths still number almost18,000 a year, slightly below half of all highway crash deaths. We are doingbetter, but not well enough!

    The Role of Occupant Protection

    Safety belt use saves over 9,000 lives and prevents 200,000moderate-to-critical injuries each year. NHTSA estimates that, if all passengervehicle occupants wore safety belts, nearly 10,000 additional lives could besaved per year. Studies show that the use of safety restraints cuts the numberof deaths and injuries in traffic crashes by one-half.The following statistics, provided by NHTSA, dramatically show the impact thatsafety belts can have in traffic crashes:

    From 1982 through 1994, an estimated 65,000 lives were saved by safety beltsand more than 1.5 million moderate-to- critical injuries were prevented. Over the same eight years, safety belts prevented an estimated 770,000moderate to critical injuries, 571,000 in jurisdictions that have mandatorybelt use laws.

    Among front-seat passenger vehicle occupants over four years of age, safetybelts saved 4,682 lives in 1991, 3,828 of them in jurisdictions that have beltuse laws. Of 55,000 passenger car occupants involved in fatal crashes in a recent year,over half (52 percent) of the unrestrained occupants were fatally injured,while only 29 percent of the restrained occupants were fatally injured.Three-quarters of the uninjured occupants of passenger cars involved in fatalcrashes were using restraints.

    Safety Belt Use Laws

    The July 1984 ruling by the U.S. Department of Transportation on automaticoccupant protection began a wave of legislative action resulting in theenactment of safety belt use laws in many states. The goal of these laws was topromote belt use and thereby reduce death and injuries in crashes.As of this writing, 48 states and the District of Columbia have belt use laws,some as a primary violation and some as only a secondary violation (enforcementaction can only be taken if the driver is stopped for another violation).Reported safety belt use ranges from 24 to 83 percent, varying widely fromstate to state, reflecting factors such as differing public attitudes,enforcement practices, legal provisions, and public information and educationefforts. NHTSA estimates that the implementation of state belt use laws hasreduced traffic fatalities by seven percent a year.

    Types of Occupant Protection Systems

    Safety belts were first installed on passenger vehicles in 1956, and shoulderrestraints were added in later years. Using a combined seat belt and shoulderrestraint keeps the driver from hitting the dashboard, windshield, or rear-viewmirror— “submarining under the dashboard.”The addition of automatic passenger restraints by some manufacturers resultedin miniature electric motors which deploy the shoulder strap when the driversits in the car and the ignition is turned on. However, many drivers take nofurther action after the shoulder strap is deployed and do not fasten theirseat belts. This defeats the engineering that went into the restraint system,because the shoulder restraint alone is not protective without the lap beltfastened.

    In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board has highlighted instances ofwhere motorists using the motorized shoulder belt without the lap belt havebeen decapitated in crashes.

    Driver and passenger-side air bags are now mandatory in most new passengervehicles. These devices contain sensors that detect rapid decelerationcharacteristic of a collision, and through an explosive device, deploy an airbag which blows up, similar to a balloon, and prevents the driver fromimpacting the interior of the vehicle.

    The presence of an air bag does not relieve the driver or passengers from theresponsibility of utilizing lap and shoulder belts. An air bag provides littleprotection in a side collision. Lap belts and shoulder harnesses provide theadded protection of keeping the driver behind the wheel and in control of thevehicle to allow for last-minute emergency maneuvers, and preventing the driverand passengers from hurtling around the interior of the vehicle and collidingwith one another.

    Child Safety Seats

    Law enforcement and education can make the difference between life and deathfor our children. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canadianprovinces have child restraint use laws. When used correctly, child restraintsare 71 percent effective in preventing deaths and 67 percent effective inreducing injuries. In a recent year, 100 percent use of child safety seatsnationwide could have prevented 455 fatalities and approximately 49,000 seriousinjuries to children under the age of five. The actual usage rate in that yearwas estimated at 80 percent, and approximately 247 lives of children under theage of four were saved as a result of child restraint use.

    Even though child safety seats are proven lifesavers, many drivers still do notuse them, purchase unapproved seats, or use them incorrectly. Incorrect use isa major contributor to the deaths and injuries each year.

    Many cases of incorrect use are as simple as turning the seat toward the properfacing position for that age child—rear-facing positions for infants andforward-facing position for older children. The best position for rear-facingchild safety seats is the middle position of the rear seat of the vehicle.Simply not following the manufacturer's instructions for properly installingthe seat also nullifies its benefit. The best place for any child in a safetyseat is in the rear seat of the car, properly secured with a seat belt systemas recommended by the manufacturer of the safety seat.

    Policies and Training Programs

    The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration has a model OPUE (OccupantProtection Usage and Enforcement) Program that is available to law enforcementagencies to train members of their department to act as instructors. Thetraining program uses a model curriculum which includes teaching participantsto write safety restraint enforcement policies. State POST Academies provide thistraining, and all law enforcement agencies are urged to have at least onemember trained in OPUE.

    Motorcycle Safety Helmets

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued Federal MotorVehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, Motorcycle Helmets, on August 20, 1973.The standard went into effect on March 1, 1974, and was most recently amendedon October 3, 1988.

    All motorcycle helmets sold in the United States are required by law to meet orexceed the minimum performance requirements established by FMVSS 218. Theserequirements include minimum impact and penetration capabilities, chin strapretention qualities, and a 210-degree field of view, along with a number oflabeling requirements. To certify that their helmets meet all the requirementsof FMVSS 218, a manufacturer places the letters “DOT” on the back ofeach helmet. This lettering is often referred to as a “DOT label” or“DOT sticker.” If a manufacturer sells a helmet certified as meeting the FMVSS standard and NHTSA discovers the helmet does not, NHTSA conducts an investigation that canresult in the manufacturer's having to recall the helmets in question.Recently, the manufacture and sale of costume or novelty helmets hasdramatically increased. These helmets, if not sold as motorcycle helmets, arenot required to meet FMVSS 218. If the manufacturer does not place a DOTsticker on the back of the helmet, they are not certifying that the productmeets FMVSS 218, and they do not claim that it offers any protection at all tothe wearer. A problem arises with a novelty helmet when its manufacturer or distributorencloses or offers a DOT label separately for the consumer to place on the backof the helmet. Reputable manufacturers place the DOT sticker on their helmetsbefore shipping them to distributors.

    Most state helmet use laws require motorcyclists to wear helmets thatmeet FMVSS 218. NHTSA has developed a training videotape and an informationalbrochure to assist law enforcement personnel in identifying helmets that do notmeet this national standard. For copies of the video and brochure, call NHTSAat (202) 366-1739.

    FMVSS 218 Requirements

    A DOT label must be affixed to the center, lower back of each approvedhelmet.

    FMVSS 218 also requires the manufacturer to sew into the helmet liner a labelor labels that can be easily read without removing padding or any permanentpart. This label must include following information:

  • Manufacturer's name or identification

  • Precise model designation

  • Size

  • Month and year of manufacture, which can be spelled out (June 1988) or expressed in numerals (6/88).

  • Instructions to the purchaser as follows:

    “Shell and liner constructed of (types of materials spelled out).”

    “Helmet can be seriously damaged by some common substances without damage being visible to the user. Apply only the following: (recommended cleaning agents, paints, adhesives).”

    “Make no modifications. Fasten helmet securely. If the helmet experiences a severe blow, return it to the manufacturer for inspection or destroy it and replace it.”

  • A helmet must have an inner liner, about one-inch thick and made of polystyrene (styrofoam).

  • The chin strap must be strong and well-attached.

  • There can be no attachments or protrusions over two-tenths of an inch long.

  • Indicators Of An Illegal Helmet

    The following is a list of items, in lay terms, that are indicators of illegalhelmets.

  • If there are protrusions from the helmet such as the old German style with a spike on the top (World War I vintage), it will not meet the FMVSS standard. (Caution: Some helmets styled like World War II German helmets are legal. Some very reputable manufacturers produce them to meet FMVSS.)

  • If the helmet consists of a beanie that covers only the very top of the rider's head, it probably doesn't meet the standard.

  • If the helmet has a web liner, no padding, or padding only, or a thin shell of less than one inch of styrofoam on the inside, it likely will not meet FMVSS 218.

  • Fake helmets usually weigh less than one pound, whereas legal helmets usually weigh more than three pounds.

  • If the strap is less than one-half inch wide, or with a single strap attached to he helmet, it probably doesn't meet the federal standard.

  • If the strap is poorly attached with small rivets, it probably doesn't meet the standard.

  • If a DOT label is on the lower back of the helmet, but you suspect it really does not meet FMVSS 218, inspect the inside of the helmet to see if the manufacturer has complied with the labeling requirements previously described. If all labeling requirements are not met, the helmet does not meet FMVSS requirements.

  • Helmets may have labels from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation, which has somewhat different requirements. However, the DOT standard is the only one the helmet is required by law to meet.

  • This information was provided by NHTSA's Safety Countermeasures Divisionand compiled by the Licensing Depart-ment of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.


    Registration, Title and Inspection Enforcement

    Motor Vehicle Registration

    The system of motor vehicle registrations carried out in the various states andprovinces serves multiple purposes, foremost of which are

  • to identify, for law enforcement purposes, the vehicles traveling our highways

  • to raise revenue. A vehicle's license plate provides law enforcement with a means of determining ownership, vehicle make, model, year of manufacture, and other items, all or any of which may prove instru-mental in conducting law enforcement activities.

  • Two-Plate Reflectorized Registration

    The proliferation of different plate types bearing the same charac-ters createsproblems in detecting stolen and wanted vehicles, and states should avoidissuing duplicate identification, if possible.

    Mandating that all vehicles display registration plates on both the front andrear of the vehicle enhances law enforcement's efforts to identify a vehiclerapidly, whether it be from a frontal position or from the rear of a vehicle.Police officers are commonly trained to jot down the license plate numbers ofoncoming vehicles they see while responding to an accident or crime scene, inan effort to identify possible fleeing perpetrators or eyewitnesses to theincident. Bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers frequently observe the platenumbers of suspicious vehicles and report them to the police. This assistancehas been instrumental in solving many serious crimes over the years. A study conducted by the IACP and published in 1979 revealed the benefit oftwo-plate registration. In addition to the rapid identification of a vehicle bypolice authorities, two-plate reflec-torized registration also enhances officersafety. Through today's synthetic materials used to cover registration plates,a minimum amount of light can illuminate the plate as an alert to the policeofficer for personal safety and for identification purposes.

    If for no reason other than officer safety, two-plate reflectorizedregistration should be incorporated as a primary design for registration platesin every state. Additionally, a reflectorized plate prevents collisions withvehicles parked along streets in poorly lighted areas.

    Enforcing the Two-Plate Requirement

    From an enforcement perspective, vehicles required by law to display tworegistration plates are easier to identify, and the dual plate registration iseffective in thwarting vehicle thefts.

    In those jurisdictions where two plates are required, the absence of one plateprovides an officer with articulable suspicion to execute a traffic stop forvehicle registration inquiry, leading to the detection of drunk drivers,persons operating under revocation or suspension, and persons transportingcontraband.

    In today's society, the general public supports laws and regulations thatbenefit them, even if they may involve an increased or new user fee. It shouldbe the responsibility of law enforcement and other public agencies todemonstrate and convey to the public and legislative bodies the benefits from atwo-plate system. Vehicle owners can see potential benefits in the event theirvehicles are stolen. Citizens can appreciate how the two-plate system enhancespolice officers' abilities to detect criminals and simultaneously heightenspersonal safety.

    Police executives and associations should be proactive in advocating two-platesystems in jurisdictions that do not have them and in fighting back attempts togo to a one-plate concept. However, justifying the need for a two-plate systemis difficult unless law enforcement officers aggressively enforce the two-platerequirement by stopping vehicles with only one plate and issuing either awarning or citation to these drivers. Each police department should have aspecific policy supporting enforcement against drivers with missing, mutilated,or illegible number plates.

    Automated Data Collection At Roadside

    Increased refinements in the field of electronics have opened up new vistas ofexploration within the law enforcement profession. Sophisticated electronicsand computer equipment are making their way into more facets of our dailyroutines, from the check-out counter at the neighborhood grocery store to thevehicles driven on our highways.

    Electronic equipment such as bar code scanners, transponders, and computers canbe utilized in law enforcement and highway safety disciplines to evaluatetraffic flow patterns, determine traffic demographics, record vehicleregistrations, issue parking tickets, and automatically collect highwaytolls.

    The progressive use of equipment and techniques that uniquely identify vehicleswithout requiring any action by the driver are evolving. An automatic vehicleidentification (AVI) device can be attached to a vehicle, whether it be a barcode or a more sophisticated transponder, containing specific information aboutthat vehicle. Through the use of a reader capable of interpreting the AVI, lawenforcement personnel can instantaneously retrieve the information on thevehicle for their use.

    Equipment of this type and capability can enhance vehicle registrationrequirements and enforcement without placing an officer in a situation ofincreased jeopardy.

    Title Enforcement

    Within the law enforcement community, title enforcement responsibilitiesusually do not generate discussion; however, with-out specialized training andconcentration in vehicle titling and registration, the public can sufferastronomical fraud and economic loss.

    Title enforcement requires investigating police personnel to have acomprehensive knowledge of state and local laws, regulations and ordinances,and the idiosyncrasies associated with various types of titles, reissuedtitles, duplicate titles, salvage titles, and manufacturer's statements oforigin. As with most sophisticated law enforcement areas and functions,specialty skills have evolved that are essential to effectiveness.

    Hidden VIN

    Beginning in 1981, all motor vehicles manufactured in the United States orimported for sale for over-the-road use were required to have a 17-charactervehicle identification number (VIN). In 1987, the Federal Motor Vehicle TheftLaw Enforcement Act of 1984 became law. Through the enactment of this law,vehicles with a high-theft potential were required to use component partlabeling or secondary sources of identification, so-called “hiddenVIN's.” Specially trained officers use these hidden VIN's to verify theauthenticity of a vehicle or a component part.

    By law, this secondary source of identification must be indelibly printed on alabel. This label must be permanently affixed to the component part on aninterior surface or location, so that it cannot be damaged in a collision orduring part installation, adjustment, or removal. It must be located in such afashion as to prevent its destruction or defacement during normal dealerpreparation, including any after-market installation procedures. The label mustcontain the manufacturer's logo, or some other unique identifier, plus the VIN.Any attempt to alter the label must either leave tracesof the original number or visibly alter the label's appearance. In casesof non-label identifiers, inscriptions to the part must be so that any removalor alteration visibly changes the appearance of the vehicle part.Locating the secondary sources of identification is the responsibility of themanufacturer. In order to assist law enforcement, manufacturers must notify, inwriting, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of their numbersand locations within 308 days of the date the vehicle line is offered forsale. Having the special expertise to investigate cases where secondary sources ofvehicle identification are utilized is invaluable to a police agency. TheNational Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a private organization funded by theautomobile manufacturers and insurers, has special agents in every state whoare available to law enforcement to provide training and other technicalassistance in identifying hidden VIN's.

    Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection

    Furthering highway safety and providing a safe travel environment for ourcitizens can be accomplished in a wide variety of fashions. Such is the casewhen a jurisdiction implements by law a periodic motor vehicle inspection(PMVI) program. Approximately 22 U.S. jurisdictions, several U.S. territories, and the majorityof the Canadian provinces have some type of PMVI program. Some jurisdictionsrequire annual or semi-annual safety inspections at either a state-maintainedor a private motor vehicle inspection stations licensed by state authorities.Annual inspections may be required of passenger cars and more frequentinspections of commercial vehicles and school buses. State-level lawenforcement agencies are charged with additional inspections of school buses byspecially trained troopers or inspectors.

    In other jurisdictions, the periodic safety inspections by an authorizedinspection station are not required, but officers are allowed to stop vehiclesto conduct roadside safety inspections.

    Increased concern by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over airpollution caused by automobile emissions has led many jurisdictions to requireperiodic inspection of motor vehicle emission systems. This procedure can beeffectively combined with periodic safety inspections in a single system. Lawenforcement executives and associations are encouraged to lobby for enactingPMVI in those states and provinces where it does not currently exist.Although variation exists within the types of PMVI programs, all ensure theperiodic inspection of basic safety components such as steering, tires,suspension, brakes, lighting systems, and glass.

    Effectiveness of PMVI Programs

    Studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin-istration(NHTSA) have identified vehicle defects as the sole cause of one out of every43.4 fatal accidents studied. In addition, it has been determined that vehicledefects play a partial role in a much larger percentage of all collisions. Thefailure of essential mechanical vehicle components—such as ball joints,idler arms, rack and pinion steering units, shock absorbers or struts, tires,and brakes—can cause loss of control of a motor vehicle while it is inmotion.

    Each jurisdiction is responsible for using any available means to guaranteethat vehicle safety components are examined and periodically reexamined toreduce the level of jeopardy that exists while a motor vehicle is beingdriven.

    Public Support for PMVI

    While PMVI programs are not always recognized for the benefits they deliver,widespread public support does exist for such programs. Public perception isthat the benefits derived from the inspection far outweigh the inconvenience orcost of having to take a vehicle to a service facility for an inspection.With the proliferation of self-service gasoline stations, no longer is thefriendly local attendant looking over a vehicle when it comes in for fuel andadvising the driver of the needed replacement of worn components or low tirepressure. Without a PMVI program, what would be a simple, low-cost replacementof brake pads often leads to the expensive replacement of rotors simply becausethe problem was not caught in time. Thus, PMVI programs can actually reduce thecost of motor vehicle maintenance, as well as enhance safety factors.

    Law Enforcement Benefits and Concerns

    Requiring an inspection sticker on a vehicle also gives the police additionalarticulable suspicion to stop a vehicle, and frequently leads to the detection of drunken drivers, revoked or suspendedoperators, persons transporting contraband, or stolen vehicles.The primary concern of state authorities responsible for a PMVI program is toensure that a quality safety inspection is provided at a reasonable price;inspection facilities are reasonably accessible and convenient; and safetyinspection is not utilized as a convenient excuse by unethical mechanics tosell unnecessary vehicle repairs. Periodic use of undercover officers andvehicles to run through the inspection process serve as an effective qualitycontrol measure for these programs.

    With the conscientious efforts of state agencies, street-level enforcementofficers, and public advocacy groups, a PMVI program can be effectivelyadministered and enforced and contribute enormously to highway safety.

    Rebuilt Vehicles

    Rebuilt or reassembled vehicles are often utilized by motor vehicle thieves toconceal the identity of a stolen vehicle. Using the salvage parts of severalstolen vehicles to rebuild the vehicle, the thief then represents the stolenvehicle as one rebuilt and is able to secure the proper documentation tolegitimize the sale of the vehicle.

    A second concern regarding rebuilt vehicles is the vehicle's level of safetyprovided to its occupants and its road worthiness. Law enforcement officialsmust take specific measures to ensure that stolen vehicles are not legitimatelysold in the public market and that unsafe vehicles are not allowed to operateon the highways.

    To prevent the sale of stolen vehicles, law enforcement personnel shouldexamine all salvaged or rebuilt vehicles prior to issuing a title. Speciallytrained VIN examiners, generally at the state level, should closely scrutinizeeach such vehicle for signs of repair and the replacement of parts. Theexamination should include a review of the documentation to ensure allreplacement parts are accounted for and that component part labels orinscriptions are intact and free of tampering. Any discrepancy should bethoroughly examined, including an examination of major component part labelsand identifiers.

    Rebuilt vehicles can offer an affordable alternative to individuals whootherwise could not purchase a vehicle, but unscrupulous or incompetentrebuilders may shortcut or overlook critical safety components. For thisreason, all rebuilt vehicles should be inspected for safety compliance. A checkof all vehicle safety equipment should be performed to assure compliance withapplicable statutory requirements.

    Through a systematic examination at the time of registration and title,the potential for fraud is significantly reduced while, simultaneously, unsafevehicles are detected.

    Specially Constructed Vehicles

    Specially constructed vehicles, “street rods,” and other assembledvehicles pose many of the same problems as rebuilt vehicles. A speciallyconstructed vehicle generally is not visually recognizable as being produced bya particular manufacturer, while the assembled vehicle is distinguishablebecause its composition is by a well-known manufacturer of commerciallyproduced vehicles.

    When the owner of a specially constructed or assembled vehicle requests a titleor registration, law enforcement and vehicle titling authorities should ensurethat the vehicle is examined for safety compliance. Such vehicles should berequired to meet and be in compliance with all state equipment laws prior tofinal inspection and the issuance of a title.

    A particular problem involves vehicles fitted with oversize tires or“jacked up” by other means so that they are extremely high on theroad and their centers of gravity have been drastically altered. Suchalterations can impair the handling dynamics of the vehicle and lead tocomponent failure and dangerous traffic crashes.

    When such vehicles slip through the registration and titling process,street-level law enforcement officers are obligated to enforce state laws andlocal ordinances regarding such standards as bumper height requirements. Lawenforcement agencies should have written policies encouraging their officers toenforce these requirements.


    Roadway Management Through Engineering and Enforcement

    Enforcement and Engineering Liaison

    The basics of an effective traffic safety program involve the “threeE's”—enforcement, engineering, and education—working inconjunction for safer roads and drivers.Some accidents are caused by vehicle defects. Adopting mandated federal motorvehicle safety standards, such as seat belts, air bags, collapsible steeringcolumns, padded dashboards, child safety seats, and rollover and side impactprotection, have reduced the number of injuries in traffic accidents. Periodicmotor vehicle inspection programs in many jurisdictions assure us that vehiclesmaintain their road worthiness during their useful lives.Aggressive traffic enforcement programs by state police and highway patrolagencies, county sheriffs' departments and local police departments deterunsafe drivers by suspending or revoking driver licenses for hazardous movingviolations. In addition, enforcement efforts to detect vehicle equipmentviolations remove unsafe vehicles from the road.Public information campaigns conducted by the National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration, state governor's highway safety representatives, state andlocal law enforcement agencies and licensing authorities, and public groupssuch as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and SADD (Students AgainstDriving Drunk), along with high school and commercial driver educationprograms, violator schools, and driver improvement programs, acquaint driverswith rules of the road and instill proper driving attitudes.

    The Final E

    The final E involves engineering. Design, construction, and maintenance ofhighways and traffic control devices can be instrumental in reducingcollisions. Seldom do enforcement and engineering work in concert to promote highwaysafety, despite the fact that police officers on patrol are perhaps the besteyes and ears that traffic engineers could have. By reporting obscured ornonfunctioning traffic control devices and dangerous highway conditions andproviding feedback from citizen complaints and the study of traffic congestionproblems, officers can offer important input for traffic engineers. Engineerscan work with officers by making highway improvements such as changing speedzones, erecting new types of traffic control devices, and placing roadsideobjects, such as utility and sign poles and guard rails, so that out-of-controlvehicles are slowed or stopped without causing injury to occupants.

    The Precedent Is Set

    Years ago, the Bureau of Public Roads, the forerunner of the present FederalHighway Administration (FHWA) held the first national jointenforcement/engineering conference. State traffic engineers and top lawenforcement officials met for the first time, many after working in the samestate for years.At this conference, common goals and interests were promoted in the area oftraffic safety and an efficient transportation system. It was recognized that,in planning new highways, cross-overs are needed on controlled access highwaysto provide access for law enforcement vehicles; as well, space is required forpulling commercial vehicles over for weight checks and safety inspections. Itwas also recognized that both the efforts of engineering and law enforcementare necessary: short-term traffic problems can often be solved efficiently bylaw enforcement actions, while long-term problems are often best removed byengineering solutions. Out of this first national conference grew suggestions for regional,multi-disciplinary enforcement and engineering conferences throughout thenation, whereby state law enforcement and DOT engineers from multi-stateregions could discuss problems and exchange ideas. Individuals attending fromeach state could expand this concept when they returned to their home states.Finally, there developed a concept that state Department of Transportationofficials and state, county and local law enforcement agencies could meet withtheir counterparts in both statewide conferences and regional meeting withinstates.

    Jurisdictions could schedule regular meetings between these disci-plines, evenallowing engineers to ride with police officers and see at first-hand thesituations that an officer was talking about. Construction conferences could beheld during the planning stages of highway improvement jobs so that lawenforcement would have strong input. The need for funding of patrols could betaken into consideration in budgeting for highway improvements. Work zonesafety could be discussed and improved.

    Resources Available

    The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) of Texas A&M University inCollege Station, Texas, is an excellent resource on this concept, since TEEX isthe driving force behind a successful engineering/enforcement liaison in thelone star state. Arizona, capitalizing on the Texas experiment, also holdsregional and local meetings between DOT engineers and Department of PublicSafety commanders and engages in the joint planning of safety projects,including engineering and enforcement concepts, with consideration of all theother disciplines that play a significant role. DOT's top managers attend DPScommanders' meetings and develop mutually agreed-upon policy statements,recognize differences of opinion and deal with them effectively, and emphasizerisk management which has reduced lawsuits arising out of allegations ofcollisions caused by unsafe highway conditions.

    In any state where these joint engineering and enforcement conferences are notcurrently in use, police executives and associations and highway transportation planners and engineers should beproactive in bringing about such efforts.

    Freeway Incident Management: Strategies for Relieving Congestion

    The urban areas of the United States have experienced tremendous populationgrowth over the past ten years. With this growth has come rapidly worseningtraffic, as both passenger vehicles and freight carriers stretch the capacityof our road systems. While adequate mass transit facilities are generallyavailable inside city limits, development patterns have placed both the peopleand the jobs just outside the city areas, creating new transportation patterns.The lack of mass transit to meet the needs of the growing suburban commuterforce has left people stuck in their vehicles, typically one person to a car.The increase in numbers of one- or two-occupant vehicles has overburdened ourhighway system to the point that peak periods of highway use (“rushhours”) frequently extend to two or three hours. Traffic slows to 30-35mph on roadways designed to move vehicles at 55 miles per hour or more. Theresult is more pollu-tion, more frustrated commuters, and a higher cost ofcommuting due to increased fuel consumption.

    Traveling in or around urban areas during a peak-use period is irritating atbest, but it can be downright miserable when an incident further impedes thetraffic flow. In a typical freeway lane capable of carrying 2,000 vehicles eachhour, an incident that blocks one lane out of three will reduce that highway'scapacity by nearly 50 percent. Thus, when blockage occurs, the cause needs tobe eliminated quickly so that ordinary delays do not become extraordinarilylong. Freeway Incident Management (FIM) can help reduce the delay caused bynon-recurring incidents.

    Problems Caused by Lane Closure

    Traffic engineers estimate that, for every minute a traffic lane isblocked, it takes four minutes to restore the flow after the incident has beencleared. When an incident occurs during peak-use traffic periods, even a smallreduction in the time taken to clear the incident can greatly relievecongestion.

    In an average urban area such as Washington, D.C., and its suburbs, as many as400 blockages lasting one hour or more will occur annually. Many more incidentswill last less than one hour.

    The FHWA has translated the average 20-minute lane blockage into a monetaryfigure to show how freeway incidents directly affect the national economy. Ifone lane of a three-lane freeway is blocked for 20 minutes—assuming thefreeway is running at capacity—the delay caused to motorists will exceed1,200 vehicle hours. At the FHWA-assigned value of $4.00 per hour for eachvehicle hour of delay, the cost of the incident due to the delay alone isapproximately $5,000.

    The goal of FIM, in addition to saving lives and property, is to minimize theeffects of such incidents on traffic congestion and reduce the possibility ofsecondary incidents.This can be accomplished by the following:

  • the time spent for incident detection and verification

  • Reducing response time by the appropriate agencies

  • Introducing on-scene management of personnel and traffic

  • Reducing the time spent to clear the incident from the roadway

  • Providing accurate and timely information to the public in order to divert traffic from the incident.

  • What Is An Incident?

    An incident that causes significant delay on a freeway can be as simple as adisabled vehicle in a traffic lane or on a shoulder. It can be a lost piece oflumber from a truck that causes motorists to change lanes suddenly. Such minorincidents, if detected promptly, can be cleared rapidly with little residualaffect on peak-use traffic.

    Major freeway incidents on the other hand, generally include:

  • Motor vehicle crashes involving serious personal injury

  • Motor vehicles on fire

  • Crashes where a load of cargo is spilled

  • Crashes involving hazardous material cargo

  • Fatal crashes

  • Overturned cars or trucks

  • Downed power lines across roadways

  • Structural failures of bridges or roads.

  • Such incidents result in delay, inconvenience, wasted fuel, frustration, andhigher costs to motorists. Stopped traffic can create secondary motor vehiclecrashes. Local streets can become gridlocked by motorists trying to avoid theincident scene.

    What Can Be Done?

    No single agency can effectively respond to and clear a major traffic incident.Traditionally, the agencies charged for the motor vehicle crash clearance arepolice, fire, and rescue services, and either public or private wreckercompanies. If structural damage is done as a result of the incident, the localand state Department of Transportation (DOT) is called to respond, generallyafter the other agencies have cleared the scene.

    With FIM, many other agencies can be involved. Acting together, these agenciescan reduce the total time to resolve and remove incidents by more than 50percent. Agencies and services that should be an integral part of planning forand responding to freeway incidents include; the state police and law enforcement agencieshaving jurisdiction over surrounding areas, the state DOT, local transportationagencies, large and small rig wrecker companies, emergency medical services,fire departments, local media representatives, local traffic reporters, theDepartment of Public Works, traffic engineers, and public and private safetyservice patrols.

    In the past, tasks were accomplished sequentially at a crash site: The policewould secure the area around the incident, rescue personnel would work atrendering aid and removing victims, the police would investigate the crash andfinally, wreckers would be called to tow the disabled vehicles. After theincident was cleared, DOT officials would be notified of downed signs ormissing guard rails.

    At each stage of the incident, responding emergency vehicles would arrive andpark wherever the operator could find an open space. The result was a mixtureof emergency vehicles often blocking each other for long periods of time, evenwhen some vehicles were no longer needed.

    Creating An FIM Plan

    The first step is to examine the locality's needs. Whether an area is highlyurbanized, with recurring traffic congestion, or rural, with traffic problemsoccurring only during major incidents, will determine the focus and extent ofplanning for freeway incidents.

    The second step is to identify those public and private resources available tothe locality that have a vested interest in transportation planning and safety.Once these various agencies and services are identified, a request is made foreach to supply a command-level person to attend an initial conference.The focus of the first meeting is on consensus building and deter-mining thattraffic incidents are a problem and that, by acting in concert, time-savingpolicies can be implemented within each agency.

    During the next phase, a working group is established to identify tasks,resources, and existing capabilities of each entity focusing particularly onjurisdiction, agency perspective and responsibilities, interagency fieldcommunication, administrative coordination among agencies, legal ramifications,site management, political sensitivity, consensus building and goal setting.In these early stages, the group determines how best to use existing resourcesto improve detection, verification, response, clearance, and recovery offreeway incidents. To assist states and localities in accomplishing thesetasks, the FHWA makes available a four-hour upper management overview and atwo-day workshop for practitioners, detailing step-by-step methods to createand implement FIM plans and response teams. You can access these services bycontacting your FHWA state coordinator.

    System Components

    Freeway Incident Management can be broken down into seven components:pre-planning, detection and verification, response time, site management,clearance time, motorists' information, and recovery time.

    1. Planning

    When an incident occurs, the focus of FIM is to “keep the traffic moving.” Alternative route plans should be identified, specifying not only location but also the resources necessary to expedite traffic movement. Simply diverting traffic from the freeway to local surface streets is not enough, since traffic signals, stop signs, toll booths, or high-occupancy vehicle restrictions may interfere with the free movement of traffic. To remove these impediments, it may be necessary to make signal timing changes or to provide for manual traffic direction. Planning for these problems will identify the resources needed and save 30 to 40 minutes of on-scene planning. This time savings in the initial stages of an incident equals a 90- to 120-minute reduction in traffic congestion after the incident has been cleared.

    Management of an incident and the surrounding traffic problems is a team effort, and each agency has a specific role to play. Planning minimizes on-scene conflict and confusion, as well as redundant requests for additional services.

    2. Detection and Verification

    Once an incident is brought to the attention of the agencies responsible for maintaining safety and traffic flow, it is necessary to separate real incidents from false alarms and to determine the exact nature of the incident. The speed with which an incident can be detected and verified directly affects the amount of time required to respond to and clear the incident and restore traffic to its normal flow. Fast, accurate detection often results in reduced traffic disruption and greater cost savings. Options to consider are CCTV cameras, CB radio monitoring, incident call-in lines for use by drivers with cellular phones, and visual observations through peak-period motorcycle patrols and dedicated freeway service patrols. Although more expensive options are available—including aircraft patrol, electronic loop detectors, and central information processing and control sites (traffic management centers)—initial planning for FIM should focus on maximizing existing resources and providing low-cost enhancements.

    3. Response Time

    Police and fire/rescue vehicles have an advantage when responding to an incident. They are equipped with emergency lights and sirens that assist their operators in navigating through traffic. Initial response by these agencies is already fast. However, the thrust of incident management response is aimed at getting the appropriate equipment and resources to the scene. Support agency vehicles—typically not equipped with emergency lights and sirens—lack the legal authority to respond at the same speed as police and fire vehicles. Alternate routes must be developed for these vehicles. Response to major incidents is thus implemented through the planning process, where personnel available for major incident response are already identified beforehand. Often, police agencies think in terms of patrol officers as being the only ones to respond. In many agencies, however, a variety of officers could be called upon to assist in major traffic incidents—those normally assigned to educational, analytical or specialty units (such as Warrant Service or SWAT officers), for example. A list of personnel resources for all agencies must be established. Consider such questions as where to find large front-end loaders to remove spilled cargo or construction barricades. Can auxiliary light units be found and moved to the scene? Where can asphalt be obtained at 2:00 a.m? A list of these resources, their locations, and contact persons should be maintained. Assigning officers and service patrols to congested road sections during peak-use periods will reduce the travel time in that area once an incident has been detected. When assigned to a patrol area that includes a high-incident section of freeway, an officer can be directed to patrol the freeway during peak-use periods, when not on another call for service. Transportation departments can assign maintenance personnel to patrol tasks during peak-use periods. These actions will create greater patrol of congested areas and prevent routine maintenance activity from being conducted during peak-use periods.

    Training of all personnel of the agencies involved in incident management creates a greater awareness of each individual's role in incident clearance. When properly trained, workers know what their tasks will be and can begin executing activities in accordance with the FIM plan for the specific incident.A direct correlation exists between effective interagency communications and reduced response time. Transportation offi-cials must be able to communicate with police or fire/rescue personnel on the scene to determine the correct response. Radio or cellular telephones can be used to relay response information to avoid delay, or make detailed requests for specific equipment and personnel from other agencies. Communications is particularly important when planned alternate routes must be modified due to construction or incident events (such as chemical fumes passing from incident site to alternate route).

    Each local FIM planning team should consider pre-staged equip-ment storage areas, administrative traffic management teams, public education programs, central information, processing and control sites, and better identification of exact locations on freeways (more frequent mile-post markers, for example). Like other facets of FIM, these must be evaluated as to cost, practicality, frequency of use, and overall benefit. Each planning team must select the options that work best in its locality, implement the procedures, and refine their use.

    3. Site Management

    The effectiveness of any incident response is directly related to the management at the scene. A well-managed response based on a less effective technique may be more successful than a superior technique that is mismanaged. Incidents involving a single agency response require only that the personnel understand their own duties and are effectively supervised. Multi-agency response on the other hand, compounds the issue of site management. Each agency must understand not only its own role and tasks but also the other agency's responsibilities. This creates a need for coordination and control which increases as the incident becomes more complex. Administrators at the highest level of each agency must instill in subordinates the belief that fast, efficient and cooperative problem resolution is the primary goal. In the absence of such an attitude, “turf wars” can develop that will inhibit incident resolution. A variety of methods can be used to coordinate and control multiple-agency response to incident resolution. The most effective method is to recognize from the outset that each agency must have its own operational command post, which reports to a centralized command post comprised of command or decision-making personnel who are not involved in the actual operational tasks of their respective agencies. Established to coordinate and facilitate the activities of the individual agencies, the centralized command post would not attempt to tell a fire department how to manage a fire in a tractor trailer but would be responsible for ensuring that DOT equipment was properly staged to repair the road surface after the fire had been extinguished. It would also ensure that equipment needed to mark alternate routes was delivered and placed properly. Finally, the centralized command post could serve as the contact point for media information and motorists' advisories, so that conflicting information would not be disseminated.

    5. Clearance Time

    During incident clearance, the vehicles or debris are removed from the roadway so that they no longer present a hazard or distraction to motorists. Inappropriate or insufficient response of personnel or equipment will greatly lengthen the time needed to clear an incident from the road. On the other hand, clearance times can be reduced by such simple steps as giving directions for access to the site or providing a police escort for wreckers. Clearance also refers to the sweeping or loading of debris deposited as a result of the incident. In most areas, towing and clearance are the responsibility of the wrecker company removing the vehicle. Police agencies usually request wreckers either by contract or a rotation list; the latter method may perhaps result in an undertrained or minimally equipped wrecker responding to a call for service. Care must be taken to ensure that the wrecker companies on the list meet minimal equipment specifications and the operators of wrecker/recovery equipment are trained in the use of the apparatus. Requests for wrecker services should specify the number, size, weight, load and types of vehicles to be removed, as well as the amount of damage and whether or not the vehicle is overturned. Maximum response times for the arrival of wrecker equipment at the scene should be identified as part of the requirements to be included in a wrecker rotation list or contract. The nature or scope of the incident may require public agencies to help with removing the debris or vehicle. A spilled load of plywood would require a loader machine to move it quickly out of the way. Because a DOT loader is often more accessible than a private contractor's, it should be brought to the scene and put to use while the wrecker company is removing the vehicle. Clearance time is reduced by coordinated multi-agency action during the clean-up phase. A wrecker company can be hooking the vehicles to tow trucks while the DOT uses a loader to remove large debris (such as a spilled load of gravel) and the fire department washes the minute pieces of debris to the shoulder.

    6. Motorist Information

    Often, when motorists are caught in the initial backup of an incident, they will devise their own alternatives. Some may attempt to drive on the shoulders of the road and thereby take the shoulder access away from responding emergency vehicles. Once at a dead stop and in a long backup, some motorists will leave their vehicles and walk to the incident site to see what is causing their delay. Even worse, they may abandon their vehicles and walk to telephones located off the freeway to advise family or child care providers of their delay. As soon as practical, motorists must be told the reason for the delay and the location of the incident. Those not already at the site should be advised how to avoid the congestion. If they are expected to stay on designated alternate routes, motorists must be confident that these routes are visible and clearly marked. Persons unavoidably caught in a traffic backup, sometimes for hours, must be assured that public officials are working to free them from the circumstances. They should also be told how to obtain assistance if they require it. Traffic jams caused by major incidents may dictate the need to provide water, fuel or emergency medical assistance. In one major backup in Virginia, more than 1,000 vehicles were stopped between exits for nearly 2-1/2 hours in 100-degree heat. During the clearing phase, 17 vehicles required fuel or booster starts, one motorist suffered a heart attack, and a baby was delivered.

    There are many means by which motorists can be advised of the nature of the problem, alternate routes, and any specific instructions. Some examples include commercial radio stations, fixed and portable variable message boards, detour route signs, highway advisory radio systems, and vehicle-mounted public address units.

    7. Recovery Time

    Recovery time occurs after the roadway obstruction has been removed and all lanes are reopened for travel. Calculated to end when normal traffic conditions return, recovery time is enhanced by leaving diversion traffic control in place until the main roadway is again operating at a normal pace. Too often, traffic control procedures are dismantled as soon as the wrecker pulls off with the crashed vehicles. To be truly effective, traffic management must continue until the congestion has dissipated. Incident management is a constant and dynamic process. A plan is devised, implemented during an incident, and finally reviewed afterwards for effectiveness. Most public safety agencies conduct after-action critiques of major incidents; police departments after SWAT operations; fire departments after major fires. The same review must be conducted for freeway incidents. Each agency must examine its own response. Then, each agency commander must meet and discuss the efficiency of their interaction with the other agencies involved.

    Public and media criticisms of the incident should also be exa-mined. News articles, editorials and letters to the editor or to politicians will identify the perceived strengths or weakness of the response. The team must review all these sources, honestly evaluate the group effort, and modify the plan as necessary. With the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, resources from FHWA and NHTSA are available for states and localities to create incident management plans and teams. or more information on a step-by-step approach to incident management systems, ontact David Hellman, Federal Highway Administration, Room 6311, Nassiff uilding, 400 Seventh St., SW, Washington DC 20590, regarding the FHWA orkshop, “Relieving Congestion Through Incident Management,” emon-stration Project 86.

    Incident Command System

    An issue for law enforcement is knowing how to manage frequent, complexemergency incidents effectively while avoiding the problems associated withpast responses. The National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS) andits on-scene management component, the Incident Command System (ICS), offer thegreatest potential for law enforcement application.

    Genesis of the System

    The ICS and its successor, the NIIMS, evolved from FIRESCOPE, a project inSouthern California organized for potential emergencies in the early 1970s. Aseries of wild-land fires in 1970 in a seven-county area made it apparent thatfederal, state and local jurisdictions had no management mechanism or resourcesto allow effective response to wildfire emergencies, which recognize nojurisdictional boundaries. Funded by the United States Congress, FIRESCOPE waschartered to assist Southern California fire service agencies in multi-agencycoordination of emergencies involving multiple jurisdictions and exceeding asingle jurisdiction's capabilities. The project developed two interrelated andindependent systems, the ICS and the Multi-Agency Coordination System (MACS).

    Incident Command System

    ICS operates on both conceptual and operational levels. At the conceptuallevel, it represents agreement on common organization and terminology formulti-agency personnel to manage resources and activities efficiently atincidents involving two or more emer-gency response agencies. ICS encompassesnot only fire emergencies but all natural and technological emergencies, fromearthquakes to hazardous materials transportation incidents and civildisturbances. ICS works with, and parallel to, the MACS in defining andfocusing information collection, processing and distributing resulting data,and identifying related human and material resource needs. Its effectivenessdepends on voluntarily accepting its terminology and concepts into the dailyoperation of each agency, from handling of routine, single-agency incidents tocomplex, multi-agency operations.

    Multi-Agency Coordination System

    MACS is a coordinating process involving top agency managers. It integrates thecollection, processing, and dissemination of information necessary inmulti-agency operations, and provides for rapid allocation of requiredresources during major incidents.

    National Interagency Incident Management System

    The NIIMS, which became operational in 1982, evolved from and built upon thesystems developed from the FIRESCOPE project. Publications providingexplanations and details of the system are available from the National FireAcademy in Emmetsburg, Maryland.

    Operational Characteristics

    The ICS was developed and designed to meet a number of criteria critical toeffective incident management, including the capability to provide for singlejurisdiction/single agency involvements; single jurisdiction/multiple agencyinvolvements; and multi-jurisdiction/ multiple agency involvement. Theorganizational structure is adaptable to any emergency or incident, isapplicable and acceptable to emergency responders throughout the country, andreadily adaptable to new technology. It provides the ability to expand anoperation logically from a single-unit response on up, with common elements and organization, terminology, and procedures. Itcan be implemented with the least possible disruption to existing systems.ICS consists of eight components utilized interactively. These componentsinclude common terminology, modular organization, integrated communications,unified command structure, consoli-dated action plans, manageable span ofcontrol, predesignated incident facilities, and comprehensive resources management.ICS consists of five major functional areas: command, operations, planning,logistics, and finance/administration. Through these major functions andsubordinate functions in each category, the incident commander has all themanagement tools necessary to handle any size or type of emergency.

    Law Enforcement Application

    ICS is readily adaptable to law enforcement and other emergency responsedisciplines. Since its adaptation by the San Bernardino, California SheriffsDepartment in the early 1980s, law enforcement agencies began recognizing itsvalue in managing police emergencies. It was successfully used to manage theJuly 1989 DC-10 airliner crash in Sioux City, Iowa, and the October 1989 LomaPrieta earthquake in California.

    In the Sioux City incident, which resulted in over 100 deaths and numerousinjuries, rescue operation supervisors claimed that one of the most importantfactors contributing to the successful management of this emergency was the useof an ICS.

    During the Loma Prieta earthquake, which affected a significant area fromOakland to Santa Cruz some 75 miles to the south, emergency crews began torespond from hundreds of miles away, many without any type of formal request.The ICS system was integral to managing this massive disaster response, as aplanned procedure in some jurisdictions and conceptually in others. It provideda more organized and systematic structure for the management of the largevolume of resources that assembled for the incident. Many jurisdictionsoperated under the ICS unified command structure, while law enforcement, the fire service, and otheremergency response disciplines shared management responsibility for emergencyoperations.

    Adaptation and Training

    The key to the success of law enforcement ICS is the ability to modify andadapt the system to regional and law enforcement needs while keeping itcompletely compatible with the fire service. For effective and efficientoperations to occur, the management mechanism of major emergency responsedisciplines (fire, law enforcement, EMS, and transportation departments) musthave readily interchangeable and recognizable components and terminology.Unlike the fire service, which is likely to have a company officer and severalfirefighters responding to an incident on a given piece of apparatus, lawenforcement response generally consists of a single officer/single patrol unit.This reduced manpower situation requires the initial police responder toperform both command and tactical functions (in a simple motor vehicleaccident, this would be overall management and investigation), unlike the fireservice response, whereby the company officer assumes command and subordinatepersonnel perform the tactical functions. To adapt the ICS system successfully,police personnel must be trained and ICS must be integrated into dailyoperations.

    The effectiveness of ICS training increases when an integrated approachinvolves regional law enforcement agencies and representatives of otheremergency disciplines. This enhances closer working relationships and on-scenecoordination and cooperation. Training conducted by the Massachusetts StatePolice includes not only state police supervisors but also representatives fromother law enforcement agencies, the Massachusetts Department of Transportationand Turnpike Authority, representatives of towing associations, Port Authoritysupervisors, and representatives of other emergency response providers.Interagency relations have been improved, and the concept of teamwork, vital tothe management of complex incidents, has been established and reinforced.

    Traffic Management and ICS

    Typical traffic incidents consist of disabled vehicles, accidents, or loadspillages. They are a major cause of traffic congestion. The FHWA estimatesthat the nation loses 1.3 billion vehicle-hours of delay due to incidentcongestion each year, at a loss of nearly 10 billion dollars. This figure doesnot take into consideration the economic cost of wasted fuel and environmentaldamage by vehicles idling in incident-related queues. Congestion can beminimized by clearing incidents as quickly as possible and diverting trafficbefore vehicles are caught in the incident queue. The time saved by an ICSprogram depends on how well the four stages of an incident—detection andverification, response, clearance, and recovery—are managed.The ICS is the most effective and efficient on-scene management processavailable to law enforcement agencies today. It is particularly applicable tothe response, clearance and recovery stages of traffic incident management. Itsconcepts of initial scene control and management, integrated operations, andteamwork approach result in reduced clearance times for traffic incidents ofall types. This reduction mitigates the effects of traffic congestion at theincident site. Major traffic accidents and hazardous material spills requirethe participation and expertise of numerous emergency response disciplines. ICSprovides a mechanism for these disciplines to work together in an integratedand coordinated manner, toward a shared goal of rapid incident clearance.

    ICS As An All-Risk System

    In addition to its effectiveness at highway transportation incidents, the ICShas evolved into an all-risk management process for all types of emergenciesand all law enforcement activities. Response to the natural and technologicaldisasters, civil disturbances, security and crowd control details, and theentire gamut of law enforcement activities can be managed through the ICSimplementation and use. The ICS is a widely accepted tool among law enforcementagencies because it is logical and easy to implement yet still compatible withthe ICS utilized by fire and other primary emergency response disciplines. It has been accepted and endorsed by the IACP Highway Safety Advisory Committee as the preferred method of handling major highway emergencies.

    Abandoned Vehicles and Shoulder Collisions

    Each year, thousands of vehicles break down and are left abandoned on highwayshoulders. Law enforcement officers have long considered these abandonedvehicles as traffic hazards, regardless of how far off the road or how short atime they are allowed to remain. If the Washington State Patrol had its way,any abandoned vehicle would be defined as a traffic hazard. Although thisposition may sound extreme to the motorist who runs out of gas on the way towork, it is not without good cause.Over a ten-year period, Washington State experienced more than 3,000 collisionsinvolving abandoned vehicles—resulting in 40 deaths, 1,774 injuries andnearly 36 million dollars in economic loss. Police efforts to remove thesevehicles have been hampered by the issue of property rights, weak impoundlegislation, and a general resistance on the part of the courts and the publicto recognize abandoned vehicles as traffic hazards.


    The Washington State Department of Transportation has stated, “Millions ofdollars are spent each year to make highways safer and the roadside featuresmore forgiving to errant drivers. Why, then, do we tolerate parked or abandonedvehicles to remain along our highways for extended periods of time? We havedesigned standards that require a 'clear zone' on limited access highways.Nothing can be placed in this zone without providing protection to the motoristin the form of a guardrail, barrier, crash cushions, or break-away supports.Yet, we allow heavy vehicles to stand a few feet or even inches from thetraveled lanes.”The prompt removal of abandoned vehicles is necessary in the interest oftraffic safety; however, because removal involves a tow bill for the vehicle'sowner, the issue has always been controversial.

    A motorist who runs out of gas and is going to return ina few hours becomes upset to learn that the police removed the vehicle and hemust now pay a tow company to recover the vehicle. Yet the same motorist whobalks at paying the tow bill is first in line to file a claim against the statefor “failure to protect” when he discovers his vehicle has beenvandalized, stolen, or damaged.

    In Washington, state law allows a 24-hour grace period for vehicles stoppedalong the roadway before they are deemed to be a traffic hazard. Althoughseveral state laws forbid such stopping and standing, this rule clouds theissue.

    The Washington State Supreme Court supported abandoned vehicle impoundment whenit ruled that police impounds were appropriate as a part of a police“community caretaking function, if the removal of the vehicle wasnecessary in that it was abandoned, impeded traffic, or posed a threat topublic safety and convenience.” Even with this judicial support, however,resistance has persisted in the lower courts. When an officer makes a decisionto impound, the agency risks paying the tow bill. In one year alone, theWashington State Patrol paid more than $21,000 for 160 tow bills at thedirection of the courts.

    The Washington State Patrol has explored the relationship between aggressiveimpound policies and shoulder collision rates. In 1985, the impound policy wasmore lenient in response to public pressure and judicial rulings. In 1986, amore aggressive policy encouraged impoundment if the trooper judged a vehicleto be a traffic hazard. Shoulder collision rates in three counties in the PugetSound metropolitan area decreased 18.3 percent by the end of the year.

    Problem Areas Identified

    To document the problem of abandoned vehicles, the Washington State Patrolconducted a study focusing on four areas of concern:

  • Whether or not stopped, parked, or abandoned vehicles in the right-of-way of limited access highways jeopardize public safety.

  • Agency impound policies

  • State highway shoulder collision rates

  • Court reaction to law enforcement-initiated impoundment of abandoned vehicles.

  • Analysis quickly identified three problem areas in analyzing interstateshoulder collision data over a nine-year period:

  • Shoulder collision rates on urban interstate highways were extremely high compared to rural interstate highways.

  • Injury rates for shoulder collisions were substantially higher than the rates for all other accident categories.

  • The average age of vehicles struck was 9.6 years The study noted that 70 percent of all shoulder collisions had occurred in the state's three most populous counties; 41 percent involved injuries.

  • The study recommended a two-hour impound policy for all abandoned vehicles onlimited access highways where the speed limit was 55 mph or less, and fourhours for all other limited access highways. It also suggested urban areasshould post restric-tive signs advising that abandoned vehicles were subject toimpound.

    Following the study, the state Department of Transportation looked at theshoulder collision problem again and found that, over a 7-year period, 3,165shoulder collisions had occurred on interstate,limited access, or other state highways; 57 percent of them occurred inurban areas, 43 percent in rural areas. Additionally, 55 percent occurred atnight. These collisions caused 40 deaths and 1,774 injuries. These findingsreinforced the need to remove abandoned vehicles in all areas, urban and rural,day and night.

    Determining Impound Policies

    When considering any state's liability in determining impound policies, a“catch-22” situation clearly arises. If vehicles are promptlyimpounded, the accident potential is reduced, but the state's likelihood ofpaying a contested tow bill increases. If vehicles are not promptly removed andare vandalized or struck, the state's liability is even greater when therelatively small cost of a tow bill is compared with potentially large costs ofwrongful death or serious injury lawsuits. One wrongful death award can costthe state much more than paying hundreds of $100 toll bills.

    Police departments who patrol high-speed highways should choose the mostaggressive impound policy that is legal, in order to protect the publicinterest and reduce liability. An aggressive public information campaign canhelp raise awareness of the abandoned vehicle problem. Additionally, lawenforcement agen-cies should lobby their legislatures to request changes toeliminate length grace periods contained in motor vehicle codes.Agencies that fail to develop and enforce impound policies may facecourt-imposed costs, and shoulder collision rates likely will rise, therebyincreasing the agency’s potential liability. It is hoped that sufficientevidence is now available to convince court officials, the public, and policeadministrators that vehicles abandoned anywhere upon highway right-of-ways arehazardous to the public safety.

    Reducing Crime in Rest Areas

    Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are plagued with rest areacrimes. These crimes irritate and annoy the public, make them fearful, andfrequently harm tourism.

    The first step in attacking the problem is to determine the crime problem, itslocation, and extent and to identify or profile the people causing thesecrimes.

    Developing a Plan

    To develop a plan to eliminate rest area crime, law enforcement must coordinateefforts with other agencies, such as the DOT or the Department of Parks andResources, that manage the rest areas. It is important to elicit the opinionsand support of the officers on patrol and the personnel of these otheragencies. We should consider multiple concepts to eliminate crime, includingthe installation of signs, rest area maintenance, officer and citizen awarenesscampaigns, and enforcement. Goals and objectives should be set for any plan andshould correspond with the police department's mission and goals.Crimes occurring in rest areas include prostitution, homosexual activity,vandalism, thefts of abandoned vehicles, open-air drug markets, panhandling,vagrancy, car jacking, and car-clouting.

    Establishing Operational Procedures

    When a plan has been devised, the department needs to establish the operationalprocedures to carry it out. One of the first steps is to set up a covertsurveillance in order to determine the extent of the problem and the specificbehavior to be targeted. Typically, a covert surveillance will reveal such problems as anextraordinary number of men cruising in cars or on foot and seeking sex withother men. Often these men will be openly drinking or using narcotics inpublic, exposing themselves, vandalizing the toilet areas with graffiti, andcutting holes in toilet walls. Illicit sex acts, homeless persons using restareas for a place to live, and criminals lying in wait to commit a crime ofopportunity will soon be observed, along with their intended victims, themotoring public—tourists, travelers, and truck drivers who use the restareas for their intended purposes.

    Once information is obtained from covert surveillance, it is best to solicitvolunteer officers to perform an undercover enforcement operation. Planningshould go into such areas as the type of clothing undercover officers willwear; the number and location of backup officers and when they will bedeployed; various communications signals and emergency signals; the role of thesupervisor; tactics to be used in contacting subjects, arrest proceduresincluding bookings, transportation, and issuing citations; providing undercoverofficers with false identification, tactics and strategies; notification ofpatrol commanders and working units that an undercover operation is inprogress; subtle identification means undercover officers can use to identifythemselves to on-duty officers; and any necessary equipment for theoperation.

    Training Requirements

    The most important step prior to implementing a rest area enforcement operationis training all the persons involved. This training should focus on the laws tobe enforced (elements of the crime), descriptions/profiles of targetedindividuals, areas, and crimes, communications procedures, equipment use, andguidelines for arrest, supervision, and operational procedures.

    Implementing the Operation

    Immediately prior to beginning the operation, all involved officers should begathered for a thorough briefing and be identified to one another. Anyequipment, such as a surveillance van and video, should be checked to ensure itis in proper working condition. The laws of arrest and entrapment and preferredmethods of making an arrest while out of uniform should be reviewed.Typically, arrests will be made for such offenses as patronizing a prostitute,public indecency, possession of a controlled substance, minors in possession ofalcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia, open containers of alcohol in amotor vehicle, DUI, and other traffic offenses.

    Critique Procedures

    Following each shift and at the conclusion of the operation, a critique shouldbe held for not only the officers and their supervisors but also other agenciesinvolved, such as the DOT and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Participantsshould brainstorm on how the operation worked and how it can be improved. Allparticipants should have an opportunity to express their ideas.

    Collection and Analysis of Data

    Reporting procedures should be established at the beginning of the operationand carefully followed. Data should be input and analyzed to determine theeffectiveness of the operation and to defend against possible later publiccriticism.

    Monitoring Rest Areas for Further Problems

    Once covert operations have ceased, officers on routine patrol, as well as DOTemployees and others, should be impressed with the necessity for continuedmonitoring of the rest areas and notifying supervisors if illegal activitiesreappear. A brief, intensive period of enforcement will have a “halo”effect for a few weeks or months, but unless the operation is repeated fromtime to time, the problems will reappear.

    What Departments Have Learned

    Some departments, such as the Washington State Patrol, have had great successin implementing rest area enforcement operations. A great deal can be learnedfrom the experience of these agencies. Some of the things that the WashingtonState Patrol identified include the following:

  • More than six hours of training is required to prepare officers adequately for this type of operation.

  • Not everyone can play the role of decoy. Troopers who have worked their entire careers in uniform and in marked cars may find it difficult pretending to be a male prostitute; few can play this role effectively. Most are uncomfortable, especially when they must listen to men talk about sexual experiences, likes and dislikes. Nobody likes working the toilets, looking for open sex acts or men exposing themselves. In addition, they are sometimes subjected to ridicule and joking by their peers. Officers can become burned out very quickly; for this reason, all officers assigned to these programs must be volunteers and be rotated as frequently as necessary.

  • By beginning the program with undercover surveillance before arrests are made, you will learn that certain times, much more than others, are productive for working rest areas.

  • Men seeking sex will be found at the rest areas both day and night. Sometimes, there will be so many that it is over-powering for the officers. Suspects are easily spooked, but they come back. A rest area can be cleaned out, but thirty minutes later it will be full again. Some persons seeking male prostitutes will parade the sidewalks, while others will hang around picnic table areas or cruise the woods. Open sex acts may occur in both these locations. Other people will loiter or sit in the toilets for long periods of time, and open masturbation and oral sex acts can be observed. All males seeking sex at rest areas seem to park their cars at the rest areas for very long periods of time, some for hours. Very few will be willing to pay money for sex.

  • The most common forms of vandalism are spray painting mirrors; scratching phone numbers on the walls, mirrors, and toilet stalls; placing graffiti and phone numbers on walls with black grease markers; and cutting holes in the walls of stalls. An inexpensive solution to the latter problem is to have DOT place stainless steel panels over walls to prevent the holes from being cut.

  • Vandalism to the rest area grounds will include holes cut in chain link fencing, trees broken off, trails through brush which disturb vegetation, and littering the area with beer cans and bottles, used condoms, needles and syringes, used toilet tissue, and pornographic magazines.

  • Alcohol and narcotics use will consist of drinking in public, personal use of marijuana, and the use of harder drugs.

  • Problems with vagrants and homeless people will include people living in their cars in the rest areas and attempting to beg money, food and drinks from rest area patrons. Some of these people are frightening in appearance and tend to scare away tourists. Because of First Amendment considerations, it is generally recommended that prosecutors or departmental legal advisors be involved in the planning stages of the operation to determine to what extent homeless people can be removed from the rest area.

  • Moving traffic violations are abundant and may occur so often that there will not be enough officers to contact all violators. These offenses include improper or unsafe backing (usually by a lone male driver looking for a better place to sit) and driving the wrong way (usually involving a lone male looking for a partner). When the rest area is so full of vehicles with lone male drivers, incoming drivers must turn and go the wrong way in order to find a place to park on the travel trailer side of the rest area. Because of the open container and drinking-in-public violations, officers should also look for DUIs. Parking violations are usually caused by over-full rest areas or by people looking for places to park where they won't be bothered by men seeking sex.

  • Because of the multitude of problems which appear, it is best to enforce all violations occurring at rest areas. In this way, the maximum deterrent effect is realized.

  • Organizing the DetailIn a busy rest area, it is advisable to have as many as six officers on anassignment, set up in teams, with each team assigned with a decoy andsurveillance person. The surveillance person is responsible for keeping all ofthe members aware of the decoy's whereabouts and activities at all times. Amarked unit, if available, would be assigned to the program to providetransportation to jail for those arrested. If an extra marked unit is notavailable, then nearby officers should be notified of the operation, and amarked unit called to assist in booking suspects. Because of the wide use ofpolice radio scanners, officers must be extremely circumspect in radiotransmissions affecting the operation.

    With a six-person team, one officer is given the assignment of being a decoyand allowing men to approach him and discuss sex, while three additionalofficers, a detective, and a supervisor provide surveillance and look for othercrimes.

    The decoy, during his conversation with suspects, tells them that he chargesfor his services—that he only “plays for pay.” When an offer ofa specific sex act with an agreement for a fee is reached, the suspect isarrested for prostitution. The decoy may or may not allow the suspect to touchhim, and, if he does so, only the arm, shoulder, or leg area should be touched.Officers playing the role of decoy should not allow themselves to be touched inthe area of the groin or buttocks.Decoys should tell suspects who try to touch them that they do not allowthemselves to be touched prior to payment. If touched in the groin area, theyshould immediately tell the suspect to stop. If the suspect continues, heshould be arrested for assault or a similar offense that prohibits unprivilegedphysical contact.

    Unit members not playing the role of decoy should be told to arrest anyone whotouches them in the groin area or anywhere they do not want to be touched,especially while using the toilet facilities or areas where it is known thatsexual practices occur.

    Supervisors should review each arrest and determine whether or not theofficer has probable cause to book the suspect or issue a citation and releasethe individual on a written promise to appear.

    Information on arrests should be logged into a computerized program, and as asuspect goes through the court system, the arresting officer should be notifiedof the case disposition, which is then added to the computer file.

    Each officer assigned to surveil a decoy should be equipped with a portableradio that communicates with the other officers and the command post. Eachdecoy should have a pre-arranged signal to alert the surveillance officer andothers when an arrest is to be made. The surveillance officer is responsiblefor keeping super-visors and others aware of the decoy's whereabouts at alltimes.

    Media Coverage

    Departments should not overlook the advantages to be gained by effective mediacoverage of efforts to clean up rest areas. At the same time, a departmentcontemplating such a program must be aware it is absolutely essential toconduct it in such a manner that does not penalize persons for lifestylechoices but, rather, focuses on illegal sexual behavior that is harmful to thecommunity.

    Preventing Wrong-Way Accidents on Freeways

    In some localities, many serious accidents result from wrong-way driving onfreeways, and the prevention of these violations becomes an important publicsafety issue.

    According to a report issued by the California Department of Transportation'sDivision of Traffic Operations, half of the wrong-way driving on freewaysresults from deliberate, illegal U-turns. Measures taken to improve rampoperation would not affect this half of the wrong-way problem.For the other half, none of the physical barriers tested to date appearappropriate. Methods other than physical barriers have, however, proved helpfulin decreasing incidents of wrong-way driving.

    Effective Treatments

    Effective treatments include repainting or adding wrong-way pavement arrows;reorienting, moving, or adding wrong-way sign packages; modifying thetrail-blazing freeway entrance packages; placing edge lines in pavementmarkings; upgrading signs of high-intensity reflective sheeting; and modifyinglighting.

    Occasionally, more extensive measures can be used to solve the problem atunique locations, including airport-type pavement lights, modifying the designof ramp terminals, and adding ramps to incomplete interchanges.Important to note is that three-quarters of the fatal wrong-way accidents arecaused by drivers involved with alcohol or drugs. This fact presents adifficult challenge in terms of developing appropriate engineering solutions.Additional wrong-way pavement arrows may be beneficial. The use oflarger “Do not enter” signs may be considered if an off-rampcontinues to have a problem.

    Larger, highly reflective signs may be helpful for confused or elderly drivers.Using red pavement lights activated by wrong-way drivers may be considered atlocations where traditional treatment is not effective. The condition ofwrong-way signing packages at off-ramps and directional signs is important.Always consider the option of using a second set of wrong-way and “Do notenter” signs and wrong-way arrows farther along an off-ramp. The option ofusing additional signs and markings on selected ramps may give drivers a secondchance to realize that they are headed the wrong way before they enter thefreeway.

    Results of Studies

    Because wrong-way accidents are tragic, they have been under intensive study bythe California Department of Transportation for over 30 years. Wrong-way fatalcrashes account for about three percent of the fatal crashes on Californiafreeways, and about 5 percent of the fatalities.

    Remedial Measures Taken

    Wrong-way signs and 24-foot white wrong-way pavement arrows have been developedand installed on many of California's freeways. White-on-green freeway entrancesigns at either side of on-ramp entrances have also been posted to aidmotorists in finding the correct way onto the freeway. Further studies onwrong-way sign colors indicate that white-on-red is seen the earliest of anycolor; thus, the “Do not enter” and the “Wrong way” signsshould both be red and white. In fact, these signs and pavement arrows wereadopted as a national standard in 1967 in the Manual of Uniform Traffic ControlDevices.

    “Do not enter” signs should be located low enough for goodvisibility to the headlights of vehicles entering the wrong way.Camera surveillance reveals that the most effective corrections for wrong-waymovements include the installation of freeway entrance signs at on-ramps, and“Do not enter” and “Wrong way” signs at off-ramps; postingsupplementary trail-blazing signs and extra lighting at on-ramps; reducing theoff-ramp throat opening, and eliminating the free right turn from theoff-ramp.

    More than half the fatal and injury crashes occur at locations where sightdistance is less than 1,200 feet on mainline freeway lines. A few types oframps and interchanges, such as the cul-de-sac, buttonhook, trumpet, andtwo-leaf clover have a greater number of wrong-way accidents than other types.Also, left-hand off-ramps can appear to be on-ramps to the wrong-way driver andshould be avoided during design and construction.

    California has installed red-backed reflective pavement markers on the lanelines on freeways, and the Department of Motor Vehicles has educated the publicto the concept that the driver who sees red reflectors is going the wrong way.Because these reflectors have proven to be of limited value with drunk drivers,they are now installed only in the vicinity of off-ramps as a secondarytreatment.

    Parking lot spike barriers have been tested to determine if they could be usedat off-ramps to stop vehicles from entering the wrong way; however, they werefound unsuitable. The spikes, even when modified in shape, would not causetires to deflate quickly enough to prevent a vehicle from entering the freeway.Under high-volume traffic the spikes broke, leaving stubs that would damage thetires of right-way vehicles. It was believed that some right-way drivers, uponseeing the spiked barriers, would hit their brakes and create a hazardoussituation.

    California designed movable gates to bar traffic from high occupancy vehiclelanes. The gates are designed to stop even the heaviest vehicle; however, theytake approximately 20 seconds to lower or raise—far too slow for awrong-way vehicle entering a ramp. With the present state of the art, gates arenot appropriate for retaining a wrong-way vehicle.

    Georgia has tested a pump-up device that presents a physical curb-likebarrier to the wrong-way driver, but it was found unsuitable for reasonssimilar to those of the spike barriers.

    California tried adding horns and flashing red lights over the wrong-way signs,but these were found to be ineffective and drew complaints from neighbors.One device that did show promise was red, airport-type pavement lights,embedded in the pavement across an off-ramp, activated by wrong-way vehicles.These were shown by camera monitoring to reduce further wrong-way entries.About half of the wrong-way drivers at these ramps braked before reaching thewrong-way sign. Nearly half continued past the signs but braked before thepavement lights. Some, however, continued past the pavement lights and went outof view of the camera.

    A check of the driving records of typical wrong-way drivers indicate that theyhave received more traffic violations and felony convictions and have beeninvolved in considerably more accidents of all types than the average motorist.The majority of wrong-way drivers were male. Another complicatingcharacteristic is that many make intentional U-turns on freeways—they donot enter via an off-ramp. Nearly half of the wrong-way crashes are caused byU-turns, and half from wrong-way entries via off-ramps.12-1-39 Field reviews must be conducted by transportation officials to makesure that signs and markings at these locations are in good repair, and thatthere are no conditions which could mislead drivers.

    High-intensity reflective sheeting for signs can be adopted for wrong-way andfreeway entrance sign replacements and upgrades. Using larger signs alsoprovides more visibility, especially for elderly drivers. Thermal plasticpavement wrong-way arrows can be installed. They have high reflectivity andgreat durability.

    Synthetic materials have been developed for anti-theft signs in urban areaswith high instances of vandalism, motivated by the aluminum resale value. Ananti-graffiti coating has also been developed. Innovations in reflectivecoatings continue to be made. The electronic system for pavement lights shouldbe carefully selected for its reliability under varying moisture conditions.Wrong-way accidents show distinct patterns by time of day, a trend that mayhave implications for directed patrol enforcement. These crashes peak at around2 to 3 a.m., although this is more noticeable in the urban areas. The bars arerequired by law to close at about this time. The higher traffic volume duringthe day in urban areas probably depress the wrong-way crashes during thesehours. Urban areas have a much greater number of wrong-way crashes than ruralareas.

    Enforcement Efforts

    State police, highway patrol officers and local police can make a valuablecontribution in combating wrong-way driving.

    Most vehicle codes contain provisions such as sobriety, turning movements, andsign theft, which can be enforced to good advantage by the police.Crash reports reveal that the typical wrong-way crash is caused by a driver whois either driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or had been drinkingor consuming drugs. Various police programs can help remove these drivers fromthe road.

    One important program is the Sobriety Checkpoint program. Its aim is todetect and remove drinking drivers from the road and to reduce alcohol-causedcollisions. In any state in which state law and appellate court decisions allowthe use of sobriety checkpoints, they should be seriously considered as a meansof preventing wrong-way accidents on freeways.

    Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety

    Police should not overlook intervening variables in traffic safety that can beaffected directly or indirectly by the private sector. For instance, railroadsmaintain private roadbeds that intersect more than 160,000 public highways inthe United States. More than 5,000 collisions occur at these intersections eachyear, resulting in almost 600 fatalities and 1,800 injuries. A motorvehicle/train collision is many times more likely to produce fatalities than aroadway collision.

    Highway-rail grade crossing traffic enforcement should be given everyconsideration in the aggressive pursuit of traffic safety. Collisions thatoccur at these intersections usually are a result of motorist inattention orimpatience, which is especially apparent after observing motorist behavior atthese crossings.

    Law Enforcement Liaison with Private Sector Traffic Safety ProgramsThe Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), using data provided by United Statesrailroads, maintain a detailed analysis that may prove beneficial to policewhen conducting safety studies within their communities. By using this data inconjunction with programs offered by the private sector, agencies can implementeffective enforcement strategies. Such programs are supported by federal andstate funds, such as the OOT (Officer on the Train) and GCCI (Grade CrossingCollision Investigation) programs for police.

    OOT is a highway-railroad grade crossing safety awareness program coordinatedthrough a national railroad safety program, Operation Lifesaver, which placespolice officers aboard trains to radio traffic violations to other officersstrategically located at or near grade crossings. The selection of these sitesare based on previous collisions and traffic violations.

    The GCCI course is a highway-railroad grade crossing safety awarenessprogram coordinated through the Operation Lifesaver program. Tailored tospecific law enforcement agency needs, the course usually lasts one to threedays and is provided at no cost to the agency.

    Section 402 manpower funding may be available from the U.S. Department ofTransportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for theseprograms.

    Operation Lifesaver is a nationwide, nonprofit public information and educationprogram dedicated to reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities at highway-railgrade crossings. You can obtain more information by contactingOperation Lifesaver, Incorporated 1420 King Street, Suite 401 Alexandria, VA22314 800-537-6224

    Pedestrian Safety

    Pedestrian Safety

    After vehicle occupants, pedestrians represent the second largest category ofmotor vehicle deaths. In a recent year, motor vehicle crashes claimed the livesof 5,797 pedestrians in the United States. Approximately l00,000 more wereinjured. Over a 12-year period, between 14 and 17 percent of all traffic deathsannually have involved pedestrians.

    The loss of human life and suffering caused by these crashes is a seriousnational health problem. Each year, the economic cost of salary loss andmedical expenses also amounts to billions of dollars.

    The federal government has designated pedestrian safety as one of the nationalpriority highway safety program areas. Pedestrian safety is a nationwideconcern, and effective countermeasures exist to address the problem. In orderto combat the problem, each law enforcement agency must take the initiative.

    Reasons Behind Lax Enforcement

    Although pedestrian safety has been identified at the federal level as aserious problem, it may not be perceived as such at the state and local level.Many communities are unaware of pedestrian safety issues or are forced tooverlook them because of budget constraints.

    Law enforcement activity on pedestrian safety has been limited because ofseveral reasons. One of the biggest reasons is a significant lack of technicalinformation available to the law enforcement community. Some departments givepedestrian law enforcement a low priority because of other demands, such asviolent crime, drug intervention, increased calls for service, or lack ofmanpower. In these circumstances, concerned police agencies are faced with thechallenge of creating a demand for enforcement of pedestrian laws within their agencies or communities.

    A police agency becomes more involved with pedestrian safety issues for avariety of reasons, one of the most common of which is a local tragedy. Thepublicity surrounding such an event often sends the community to the police forleadership in solving what may be a pedestrian safety problem. Another reasonfor police involvement is the identification of pedestrian issues through theanalysis of accident reports. Whatever the reason, it then becomes time forsomeone within the agency to develop expertise in pedestrian safety issues.

    Changing Attitudes and Behavior

    As with other traffic safety programs, a pedestrian safety law enforcementprogram requires using the “3-E” (enforcement, education, andengineering) approach. Changing pedestrian and motorist behaviors and attitudes about pedestriansafety is an ongoing process that requires an ongoing commitment. Thecommitment will not take a great deal of time nor drain resources, but it willdemonstrate to the community that your police agency takes pedestrian safetyseriously. Other community organizations may be encouraged to follow your lead,and together you can utilize community policing concepts to improve pedestriansafety.

    The Pedestrian Crash Picture

    Children, the most inexperienced users of the road system, have nearly 43percent of the pedestrian accidents although they comprise only 30 percent ofthe population. Their resiliency to injury is probably the reason for thedisproportionate percentage of fatalities experienced by this age group. Of thechild pedestrian mishaps, 2.6 percent result in death.

    Target Percent of Group Population Total Fatalities Crashes

    Children (0-19)




    Working Adults (20-64)




    Older Adults (65+)




    The fact that working adults have years of experience using the road system mayexplain why this group, comprising 60 percent of the population, has only 50percent of the pedestrian crashes. The resiliency of youth fades in this group,however, and it experiences a fatality rate equal to its population numbers. Ofthe mishaps happening to working adults, 6.8 percent result in death.

    Older adults have fewer mishaps than would be expected for the size of this agegroup due to, perhaps, their many years of experience and a lowered use of theroad system. But a frailty factor likely operates here, and a large percentageof these mishaps—16.1 percent— result in fatalities.

    When pedestrians are involved in motor vehicle crashes, the results areusually disastrous. Close to 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year in trafficcrashes, often the result of alcohol use by the pedestrian, the motorist, orboth, plus excessive speed by the motorist. These causes account for almost 15percent of all annual fatalities.

    Males account for about 70 percent of the pedestrian fatalities, making themover-represented. The male pedestrian fatality rate is 3.24 per l00,000population—more than twice the rate for females.

    Nearly the same number of pedestrians are killed on weekday days as on weekdaynights; however, weekend nights see almost twice as many pedestrian fatalitiesas do weekend days.

    Approximately 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. Half of thevictims under 16 years of age are killed in crashes that occur between 3:00p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

    Seventy percent of the pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, and 82percent of fatally injured pedestrians are at non-intersection locations.People 65 years and older have the highest pedestrian fatality rates and aremore likely to sustain serious injury or death if struck by a motor vehicle.They account for 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

    Twenty-eight percent of annual pedestrian fatalities involve children under theage of five. Pedestrian mishaps are the single largest cause of death ofchildren ages 5-9 years. More than 25 percent of the traffic fatalities underage 16 are pedestrians.

    Alcohol involvement, either for the driver or pedestrian, is reported in morethan half of the motor vehicle crashes that result in pedestrian fatalities.Nearly one-third of the pedestrians involved are intoxicated, with BAC levelsof 0.10 or greater. While the percentage of alcohol-related traffic accidentsinvolving drivers and passengers in motor vehicles has been steadily declining,the percentage of alcohol-involved pedestrian accidents has remained relativelyconstant.

    Pedestrian Safety Programs

    Commitment by the law enforcement agency's chief executive is essential to thesuccess of a pedestrian law enforcement program. Involving the community in theplanning and implementation of such a program is equally important.The goals of a pedestrian safety law enforcement program are to have citizensbe aware of and comply with the pedestrian laws and to have police officersenforce these laws.

    It is only logical to have both the police and the community working togetheron a program aimed at citizen behavior. Prob-ably no single organization has agreat deal of time to devote to pedestrian safety; however, by poolingresources you can have a significant impact.

    The method agencies use to train officers placed on traffic assign-mentsenhances the effectiveness of a pedestrian program. Recruit schools and trafficcommanders need to explain and emphasize the reasons why pedestrian lawenforcement is important. They need to sell their officers on enforcement byusing educational efforts.

    Suggested training tools for educating police officers about pedestrian lawenforcement include using the same safety messages communicated to the generalpublic by television, radio, or brochures; placing articles about pedestriansafety and enforcement concepts in police memos and bulletins; and developingenforcement videotapes to be shown at roll call.

    When issuing a citation to a pedestrian or motorist for a pedestrianviolation, officers should be encouraged to run a check on the violator'slicense. The officer may find that the violator is a wanted criminal or isdriving on a suspended license. Officers will then see that they are not onlyreducing the pedestrian problem but also responding to other crimes.For traffic officers to enforce pedestrian laws and be dedicated to theprogram, police supervisors must communicate their support and provide positivereinforcement, and top management must trust its commitment.

    Obstacles to Enforcement

    Throughout the country, police agencies run into obstacles when trying toenforce pedestrian laws. These obstacles include a lack of interest orunderstanding, the severity of other law enforcement programs, insufficienttraining or funding, weak laws governing impaired pedestrians, and inadequatesupport from the judicial system, where many judges do not support efforts toticket pedestrian safety violators.

    By decriminalizing public intoxication, lawmakers intended that public drunkswould be treated rather than punished. However, when that law changed and theresources directed toward public health facilities for alcohol treatment nevermaterialized, police officers were left with no permissible law enforcementresponse and no places to take public drunks. In some jurisdictions, theincreased emphasis on anti-DWI programs has led to more intoxicated persons onfoot and an increase in the number of alcohol-involved pedestrian crashes.We can often remove some of the obstacles to pedestrian safety enforcement bylearning from the successes of other jurisdictions. Invite police officers orcommanders from other agencies to explain how pedestrian laws are enforced, andhow tickets are issued in their jurisdictions. Inform judges and prosecutorsabout your program and the statistics concerning pedestrian crashes. Involvemembers of the judicial system in planning your pedestrian law enforcementprogram.

    Planning to enforce pedestrian laws where they have not been enforcedbefore will only lead to resistance unless the public is educated beforehand.The pedestrian safety program is effective only when it successfully integratesenforcement, education, and engineering. Once a community has been educatedabout pedes-trian safety and understands the importance of following the laws,it is more likely to support a law enforcement program. Educational programscan mobilize community support for pedestrian law enforcement, which is crucialto its success. Ten years ago, people did not expect to be arrested for DWI andif arrested, expected minimal punishment. Today, DWI is considered a seriousoffense and carries serious penalties and a social stigma. The difference oftenis attributed to organized public support and demand for enforcement fromgroups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

    Educating the public will change attitudes, improve skills, and increaseknowledge about pedestrian safety issues.

    Pedestrian Education Issues

    Some pedestrians dart out into the street without stopping or looking fortraffic, and others cross at intersections without checking for turningtraffic.

    Pedestrians sometimes do not understand what flashing “Don't walk”signals mean. They mean, “Continue your trip but do not start if you havenot yet begun.” Pedestrians often begin crossing the street as the“Don't walk” signal is flashing, instead of waiting for the nextsignal cycle. Some pedestrians also disregard crossing signals altogether andcross the street when they think it is clear.

    Pedestrians frequently do not realize the importance of being able to seemotorists as well as being seen by them. Some walk along the roadway in thedirection of traffic and cannot see traffic coming up behind them. Others walkin the street or along the roadway at night without any reflective clothing.Pedestrians are unaware of the dangers involved by stepping out of a vehicleonce it has been disabled. When pedestrians step out of a car, they often walk too closely to the road. When they cross theymay misjudge the speed of oncoming vehicles, especially on high-speedroadways.

    Children do not perceive moving vehicles in the same way adults do. Theyfrequently lack the ability to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles.Pedestrians crossing high-speed roadways or rural roads are often unable tojudge the speed of oncoming vehicles. Some pedestrians walk through parkinglots or pass driveways without looking for moving vehicles.Crashes usually involve a behavioral error on the part of the pedestrian, themotorist, or both. Motorists' behavioral errors can be seen in exceeding thespeed limit; failing to slow down when driving through residential areas inwhich children are playing; and failing to reduce their speeds on city streets,in shopping areas, or in the vicinity of crosswalks where pedestrians areabundant. Many motorists turn without looking for pedestrians crossing theirpaths, particularly in right-turn-on-red situations. They ignore the lawrequiring them to yield or stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.Motorists may back up without checking for pedestrians behind the vehicle, aparticular hazard for delivery trucks calling on house-holds. Also, motoristsmay pass stopped vehicles, such as school buses, and thus endangerpedestrians.

    Properly planned and sustained enforcement programs and public education makepeople adopt intelligent practices for both walking and driving. You can assistby developing a public information campaign, with a mediapacket—containing information about pedestrian laws, high-risk behaviors,accident statistics, and particularly dangerous intersections or areas of yourcommunity—to be distributed to newspapers, radio, television, andcommunity bulletins.

    Publicity Efforts—A Necessity

    Holding a media conference when pedestrian issues are more likely to gainattention, such as when schools open or close, can be a particularly effectivetime to kick off a pedestrian safety program. Newspaper articles can be used to ask the public to identify the mosthazardous areas in the community for pedestrians. Active or retired officerscan provide public information at scheduled programs in local schools andclubs.

    Dispatching a brochure about pedestrian safety with all traffic citations andwritten warnings is another effective method of educating the public. You mayalso wish to consider including a survey about pedestrian safety as a means ofobtaining information about how much individuals know about this topic.You can ask public transit agencies to include pedestrian safety advertisementson the exteriors and interiors of their buses. Motor vehicle authorities shouldbe encouraged to include a section on pedestrian laws, rights, and obligationson driver's tests, in driver education programs, and in violator schools.In your educational efforts, personalize the issue by showing how a loved onecould be a pedestrian at risk. Victims' stories told from a point of view assurvivors are effective in such campaigns. Because most drivers also walk,appeal to them from both perspectives. How do they behave toward pedestrianswhen they are driving, and how do they expect a driver to behave toward themwhen they are walking?

    Utilities, banks, and other institutions and organizations can beencouraged to include pedestrian safety information in monthly billings andmailings. The state Motor Vehicle Division can be asked to include suchinformation with automobile registration and driver license renewal notices.Senior citizen groups and youth groups such as the Boys Scouts can be used toassist with mailing tasks.

    Encouraging and supporting a pedestrian advocacy operation is also useful. Whenpreparing educational material, stress safety and not punishment. Informcitizens about situations that can be dangerous for pedestrians, rather thantelling them about the jaywalking tickets they can receive.A good idea is to integrate pedestrian safety with corporate health and trafficsafety programs, such as occupant protection, impaired driving, smokingcessation, and weight control. Your message can reach many more people than itwould if you were doing it alone, and your limited funding and resources arethus maximized for a greater impact.

    Your pedestrian safety program will be much more effective if you gain thesupport of government officials, community leaders, and organizations byforming a pedestrian safety committee of individuals who have an interest intraffic safety issues. Potential members can include representatives fromgovernment, the Safety Council, the school system, media, automobile clubs,youth, civic, and senior citizen organizations; traffic engineers; and hospitalor trauma center personnel. Networking with community groups is an excellentmethod for obtaining citizen input as you develop and implement pedestriansafety programs.

    Cooperation with Engineers

    Traffic engineering countermeasures can improve pedestrian safety by modifyingthe physical environment. Solutions can range from painting crosswalks toconstructing pedestrian overpasses.

    Engineering and enforcement interventions to improve safety can includemodification of stoplight signals to increase pedestrian crossing time, new roadway markings to emphasize crosswalks, pedestriansignals on median islands, oversized speed limit signs, and increased policeenforcement of the speed limit.

    City planning departments should be made aware of pedestrian issues andconsider them when approving site plans. Typical urban problems, such astraffic volume, limited resources, and crime, pose problems for pedestriansthat may not be addressed as a community grows.

    Engineering factors regarding pedestrian safety should be integrated into thecommunity plans, including overhead cross-walks, sidewalks, marked crosswalks,street lighting, shortened city blocks, and curb ramps for the disabled.

    Strategies for High-Risk Populations

    Specific pedestrian populations have been identified as being high-risk. Theyare either over represented in pedestrian crashes, or they put themselves invulnerable positions as pedestrians. These high-risk individuals include olderadults, alcohol-impaired pedestrians, and children. Increase enforcement in areas where there are high concentrations of olderadults. When pedestrians see officers ticketing violators, they will be morelaw-abiding themselves.

    Crossing guards can be assigned to high-concentration areas during peak timesor at designated times publicized to older adults. Placing crossing guards inconcentrated areas greatly reduces the opportunities for motorists to violatepedestrian laws. Sometimes, volunteer crossing guards can be obtained throughorganizations such as the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) orretired police officers' groups.

    Determine where older pedestrians walk to shop, eat, or exercise, particularlyin areas with high concentrations of older adults, such as retirementcommunities. The Department of Social Services or senior citizen centers canhelp police departments identify such locations, as well as the times whenolder adults are most likely to be in high-traffic areas. Suggestions can be made to older adults aboutthe safest times to be pedestrians.

    Many older pedestrians are killed while crossing legally in cross-walks. A highrate of older pedestrian are involved in right-turn-on- red and left turncrashes. Radio and television public service announcements, which reach a wideaudience, can stress messages aimed at older adults to make them more aware oftheir limitations and adjust their driving and walking behaviors accordingly.Video or slide presentations can be made to older adult organizations,including church groups and social clubs, who are frequently eager to haveprograms of interest presented to their members.

    Mature motorists programs are available from the AARP and the AmericanAutomobile Association. These training programs cover the issue of dealing withback or neck problems that may interfere with an older driver's ability tocheck for pedestrians before backing out of a driveway or parking space andother issues, such as slowed response time, sensory deficiencies, mentaldeficiencies, and other behavioral defects.

    Inform traffic planners of the engineering needs for older adults. Offersuggestions for countermeasures that will aid older adults: bigger signs; timedpush-button crossing lights to allow a longer pedestrian crossing time; refugeislands to provide a safe haven for those unable to cross the street during onepedestrian crossing signal cycle; high-visibility crosswalks with overheadlighting, flashing lights, or reflectors to allow motorists and pedestrians tosee them better; delayed green lights on all-ways stop for motorists so thatpedestrians can cross in any direction or get a head start on crossing beforevehicles make their turn; and the construction of fences and barricades todirect pedestrian flow to intersections and discourage mid-block crossings.

    Alcohol-Impaired Pedestrians

    Law enforcement options for handling intoxicated pedestrians arelimited now that public intoxication has been decriminalized. Education is thebest way to encourage pedestrians to look for alternate forms of transportationwhen drinking. Your agency can also participate in legislative action tocriminalize walking while intoxicated.

    The message to be communicated to the public is that intoxicated pedestrianspresent a hazard to law-abiding motorists as well as to themselves. You candevelop a public service campaign addressing the relationship between alcoholand pedestrian crashes, and expand public education about DWI to include therisks of walking while intoxicated. Enlist the participation of anti-DWI groupsin a campaign to highlight the dangers to pedestrians caused by drunk drivers,and of drunk pedestrians to themselves.

    Campaigns can be developed to alert restaurant and bar industries to theproblems related to drinking and walking, especially if you involve the AlcoholBeverage Control Board in your jurisdiction.

    Child Pedestrians

    Educational countermeasures are most effective with this age group. Enforcementagencies can play a significant role from an educational perspective bydeveloping safety materials for parents; delivering training materials topre-school programs and day-care centers to train child providers to teachchildren about traffic safety skills; developing programs for school crossingguards to instruct children to identify and report maintenance problems such asbroken pedestrian lights or signs that need replacing; and developingschool-based educational programs on pedestrian traffic safety.One simple initiative is the installation of a mechanical arm that swings outten feet in front of a school bus so that children must walk around it to crossthe street and will be more visible to the bus driver.

    Other High-Risk Populations

    Other populations at risk are pedestrians on high-speed roadways and tourists.Convincing the highway engineering departments to construct overpasses andbarricades, so that pedestrians are prevented from crossing high-speedroadways, can help reduce collisions in these locations. Distributinginformation about the dangers of crossing high-speed roadways can also beeffective when they address vehicle distance and speed as well as alcoholimpairment problems.

    Motorists need to be aware of the risks they take when they get out of disabledcars on high-speed roadways. Pedestrians have been killed while standing in theroad wondering what to do, while working on their cars, or while attempting toflag down assistance. It is extremely important to distribute information onthe dangers and safety precautions motorists should take when their vehiclesbecomes disabled. Transportation departments should be encouraged to installtelephones along expressways so that pedestrians can call for vehicleassistance, and to post signs instructing motorists what to do if their carsbreak down.

    Police can work with hotel and motel associations to develop public informationand education materials for tourists, including information on the dangers ofwalking after drinking. Hotels and motels can be encouraged to distributepedestrian safety materials to guests as they arrive and to develop maps withsafe pedestrian routes. Pedestrian educational materials can be placed at reststops along interstates and can be included on, or attached to, state touristmaps.

    Construction Zone Safety

    An enforcement program is the best approach to deal with the safety ofconstruction workers on high-speed roadways.The Michigan State Police developed a program called Construction Zone AccidentReduction (CZAR). It involved a pre-enforcement study period, an enforcementperiod, and a post-enforcement study. Prior to any enforcement efforts, the studyindicated that cars averaged 56 mph in a posted 45 mph construc-tion zone.Undertaking vigorous enforcement efforts, state police issued speeding ticketsduring the times when construction workers were present. A post-enforcementstudy indicated motorists had reduced their speed by an average of 8 mph.In the state of Pennsylvania, a double fine is imposed for speeding inconstruction zones. Signs describing the fine for each incremental speedviolation and the amount if doubled are posted to inform motorists of theirfinancial liability.

    Federal Funds

    Federal funds available to highway and traffic safety initiatives in states andlocal areas are known as Section 402 funds. These formula grant program fundsare intended to aid the states in conducting approved highway safety programs,under the direction of the governor's highway safety representative. City andcounty government agencies are eligible for 402 grants to fund activities inpriority program areas such as occupant protection, police traffic services,alcohol and other drug countermeasures, emergency medical service, trafficrecords, motorcycle safety, and pedestrian/bicycle safety. For information onthese programs, contact your state governor's representative for highwaysafety.

    Federal funds are also available to conduct research, develop new technology,and demonstrate new strategies and technology in the field of highway trafficsafety. Referred to as Section 403 funds, they are awarded through grants,contracts, and cooperative agree-ments with state governments, universities,and consultants.

    Several other sources of federal funding are available for highway safetystrategies. These are incentive grants, awarded to states meeting certainlegislative and program requirements.

    Section 153 funds are awarded to states that have safety belt and motorcyclehelmet use laws and that reach certain usage levels specified by law. Section408 and 410 funds are awarded to states that have passed legislation such asadministrative license revocation, mandatory jail for repeat alcohol offenders, and lowerlegal BAC content levels, and that have programs that control access to alcoholby use, conduct sobriety checkpoints, and have self-sustaining alcoholprograms. For more information on any of these programs, contact yourgovernor's representative for high-way safety.

    Available pedestrian safety materials include the AAA Traffic Safety ServicesCatalog, published by the American Automobile Association, Traffic SafetyDepartment, 1000 AAA Drive, Heathrow, Florida, 32746; and the PedestrianAccident Reduction Guide, distributed by the National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration, NTS-23, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20590. The WalkAlert Program Guide is published by the National Safety Council, 444 NorthMichigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60611-3911. The National Safety Councilalso produces a “Watchful Willy Preschool Pedestrian Program” aimedat preschool children to modify behavior and increase safety awareness. The AAAalso produces a booklet entitled, Older Adult Pedestrian Safety, that giveslocal communities guidelines for the development of programs that meet olderadult pedestrian safety problems. The National Safety Council has a similarbrochure entitled Walk Alert: Pedestrian Safety for Older Adults.The National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1834 ConnecticutAvenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20009 has a program, entitled “Walking inTraffic Safely (WITS).” This traffic education curriculum package foryoung children, aged pre-school to six years old, is designed to teach themabout streets and cars. Any of these programs are yours for the asking.


    Public Information and Education Programs

    Public Information and Education Programs

    From the smallest police departments where the chief must handle formal publicrelations efforts to larger municipal police and sheriffs' departments, statepolice and highway patrols that have formal public relations units within theirorganizations— police everywhere need to tell their story. And nowhere isthis need more relevant or important than in the field of traffic and highwaysafety.

    In too many instances, the department's spokesperson may have little, if any,training or experience, either in communicating with the media or in organizingand managing an effective public relations campaign. Often the person in chargeof public relations may be at a loss to know what is expected of him, or whereto obtain assistance.

    For many years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasurged law enforcement agencies to establish comprehensive traffic safetyprograms. One way to accomplish this with a public information and education(PI&E) program that creates a “perception of risk” among thepublic, so they will support proactive traffic enforcement. Public informationprograms are needed not only to educate but also to keep the topic of trafficsafety before the media and, thus, the public.

    Public Information

    The public perception of the police is directly affected by the image youportray. You can gain public understanding, support, and confidence with apositive impression created through effective, ongoing contacts with the peopleyou serve. A positive climate for these relations between your officers and thepublic can be fostered by successful media relations. In larger departments, aperson or a unit may be responsible for implementing a public informationprogram. However, even in a department where such a unit is not possible, a good public informationprogram can be created. What is needed is a strong commitment by the head ofthe agency to lead by example.

    The task of public information consists of two important areas— externaland internal information.

    External public information informs the public of departmental activities,develops good relations with the local media, performs traffic safety educationand community services, develops an effective liaison with the legislative andjudicial branches of government, and enhances overall department image.Internal public information disseminates information on internal activities andemployee achievements to department employees.

    Media Relations

    Media relations is the most important tool at your disposal in your quest for agood public affairs program. The majority of the public has no direct contactwith you. Their perceptions are greatly influenced by what they see, hear, andread on television, radio, and in the newspapers. Positive publicity generatespositive opinion, and negative publicity can destroy what took years toaccomplish.

    Too often, we fear close contact with the media, either because of an incidentin which we received unfair treatment, or as a result of a “horrorstory” from a fellow officer. Sometimes, we react to such painfulexperiences by withdrawing into a shell and refusing to cooperate or even talkwith the press. When we do this, we risk digging a hole for ourselves so deepthat it will take an unbelievable amount of work and determination to regainpublic trust. Our programs suffer as a result of being unable to inform thepublic adequately of what we are doing. Upon closer examination, we may findthat the negative repercussions could have been avoided if we handled the mediadifferently. Proactive media efforts can often identify a potential problem andmanage its probable outcome. Make media relations a high priority in your department because, without them, effectivepublic relations programs are impossible.

    Community Programs

    Community programs are formal services that serve a demonstrated need within aparticular community or area. They are sponsored totally or partly by the lawenforcement agency and aimed at mitigating a particular problem, or advising asegment of the population about a specific program. These activities caninclude both crime prevention programs and traffic safety projects. Examplesare neighborhood watch, operation identification, DARE, rape and assaultprevention, child molestation prevention, bicycle safety programs, Halloweensafety, departmental appearances, tours, speaking presentations, and ride-alongprograms.

    Public Perception of Risk

    The goal of traffic safety programs is to convince the public that violatingtraffic laws leads to crashes, serious injury, or death. Too many people takethe use of vehicles for granted and think, “It can't happen to me!”Effective PI&E programs address this perception of risk, to help the publicunderstand that the risk of dying or being seriously injured in a traffic crashis real. They must be shown statistics that will convince them of this. Acomparison of traffic statistics to crime statistics will show that, althoughpeople are more fearful of being the victim of a crime than being involved in acrash, traffic crashes are violent events that are more likely to happen, evenin a high-crime area.

    This same theory can be applied to enforcement strategies. Regardless of howmany violators your officers stop, the only people that will be aware of thisactivity are those who are stopped or ticketed. To give the general populationthe idea that, “I might get caught, too,” and thus secure additionalvoluntary compliance with the traffic laws, you must introduce timely publicinformation with your enforcement efforts. For the same reason, highly visibleenforcement programs such as sobriety checkpoints, wolfpack patrols,speed saturation, and occupant restraint and equipment checkpoints, have agreat deterrent effect as the public observes a number of police units in thearea.

    Working With the Media

    Public information officers must recognize and understand the needs andrequirements of the media and help the media understand the methods, policies,and constraints governing law enforcement. Then the best possible image of thedepartment can be conveyed to the public, and the media can perform its primarymission to educate and inform.

    Newsworthy events occur almost hourly, many directly or indirectly involvinglaw enforcement. We may secretly believe the media has no businessinvestigating these police matters and should stay clear until they are tolddifferently by us; yet the media believes its responsibility is to inform thepublic about every detail of a story it considers newsworthy. If an eventprovokes media interest, the fact is that the story will go out, with orwithout our help. Law enforcement needs the media as an ally, but the mediadoes not need us to do a story—their existence doesn't depend on us.

    The print media (newspapers and magazines) are more interested in the smallerdetails of a story than television and radio reporters, who must tell the storyin a few seconds. However, newspapers, too, revolve around deadlines. Beingfamiliar with the deadlines of the various newspapers will help you timereleases to accommodate schedules, ease the workload of reporters, and helpyour relationship with them. Despite the reporter's insistence, you may be ableto take time to prepare your response to certain news events.

    Radio media operate 24 hours a day, just as we do, and constantly requireinformation from us. With stories introduced and updated around the clock,deadlines seldom exist. Broadcasts, which are short and concise, do not requirea lot of detail. The desired format is a quick, factual release of the mainparts of the story. Be prepared to condense a release of information into a nine tofifteen second time period to accommodate radio's format. Half the battle ofgetting your story aired is minimizing editing by the station to fit it intotheir time frame. A snappy, factual, and appropriately timed release thatrequires little or no editing helps guarantee that your release will bebroadcast as is, with the facts you want included. It also eases the workloadof the station staff and helps your relationship with them. Radio has thelargest audience during the morning and evening commuter rush hours, andrequests for updates and comments will increase during those times.

    Radio stations frequently request a taped phone interview for broadcast. Beforeyou comment, ask if you are being taped. Avoid personal opinions—remember,you are representing the department. Feel free to ask a reporter, before thetaping starts, what questions they will be asking. If you make a mistake,realize it and correct it, either by making the correction or retaping theinterview. The radio format is especially valuable for getting out traffic and emergencyinformation, such as detours, evacuations, and temporary parking restrictions.Officers can also serve as guests on talk shows and provide information aboutdepartmental activities.

    The television media can be summed up by the old adage, “A picture isworth a thousand words.” TV, like radio, must fit the story into a short,concise package suitable for viewing. However, unlike radio, TV has fixeddeadlines, because time is required for editing and preparing raw video footageof an incident or interviews to meet scheduled air times.If you are being interviewed on camera, discuss the interview outline with thereporter until you feel comfortable about it. If you know in advance, do someresearch on the topic. It is possible to stop the cameras if you make a mistakeand tape that portion of the interview over.As TV news crews have become more mobile, live television interviews at thescene of an event are commonplace. Your officers in the field must be trainedto respond to these live requests. Television, because it combines news with the impact of visual images,can enhance your PI&E efforts. Use TV whenever it can help your efforts.

    National News Media

    Radio and TV network reporters and national wire services will descend on youwhenever you have news of more than local interest—a riot, a publicdemonstration, or even a severe storm. You must be prepared for this tohappen.

    Good coordination is the key to dealing with the national media. Designate onespokesperson or public information officer to do all the interviews ifpossible. This avoids releasing conflicting information or making it look asthough you are hiding something. In disaster situations, designate a mediastaging area where they can work and you can interface with them. Don'toverlook your local media simply because the national people are on the scene.When the national attention goes away, you must face the local media 365 days ayear.

    Public Service Announcements

    Radio and TV stations broadcast public service announcements (PSAs). Inaddition, many newspapers will print free public service ads as a communityservice.

    If you wish to use PSAs, remember that they are a form of advertising. Developthem as an advertising agency would develop an advertisement or commercial.They should have a theme, present a concise and easily understood message, andbe factual and entertaining. Sometimes, the use of a celebrity or radio or TVprofessional as the voice over, or “talking head,” will help to getyour message across. If you produce your own PSAs, be sure they are ofbroadcast or print quality, or you can be assured that they will not be used.Frequently, a local advertising agency will assist you, free of charge, as their own contribution to the public well-being.

    Managing The Media

    Learn, either by attending journalism or police-media courses or from afriendly media representative, how to write a good news release—one whichcontains the “who, what, why, when, where, and how” in the firstparagraph and adds details of diminishing importance in subsequent paragraphs,so it can be easily edited to fit the space available.

    Get to know the names, addresses, phone and pager numbers of the movers andshakers in your local media. Be accessible to them. If you send news releasesout, do not address them generically to the news desk, but send them to someoneyou know. Top department officials should also develop friendly relationshipswith managing editors, publishers, and those who set editorial policy. Have aformal policy on handling the media, and consider issuing press cards to bona-fide media representatives, to allow themthe closest possible access to a scene without disrupting operations ordestroying evidence. Regular meetings every few months between the departmentmanagement and media representa-tives provide both parties an opportunity tobreak bread together and iron out any differences.

    How to Obtain Further Information

    NHTSA has a booklet entitled, Law Enforcement Public Information, as well asexamples of video and audio-taped PSAs, that is free for the asking. You canobtain copies by contacting

    Police Traffic Services Division (NTS-41) National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration 400 7th St., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20590


    Uniformity, Reciprocity, and Federal Programs

    Uniformity and Reciprocity of Federal Programs

    Currently, more than 170 million licensed drivers are driving about 188 millionvehicles over two trillion miles a year on our streets and highways. Ourefforts in highway safety have reduced the death rate to less than two deathsper hundred million vehicle miles traveled. In the 1930s, the mileage deathrate was approximately 15.

    The terrible loss of life on our streets and highways called for action, and agroup of visionaries in the 1920s and 1930s saw the need for highway safetyprograms. Among these was the need for uniformity of traffic laws, andreciprocal agreements between and among the states to improve the safety,mobility, and efficiency of our roadway system.

    The History of Reciprocity

    The conceptual framework of reciprocity and uniformity was formalized in 1924,when Secretary of Commerce and later U.S. President Herbert Hoover convened agroup of people to develop a national, rather than federal, set of proposedlaws. The purpose was to achieve uniformity from state to state and to enhanceboth intrastate and interstate motor vehicle travel. Reasonable uniform-ity ofstate motor vehicle laws would then establish a framework for interstatereciprocity and the free flow of goods and people.

    The Uniform Vehicle Code

    Today, there is the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances(NCUTLO) which has maintained the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) since 1926, whenthe first edition was published. The first edition was what we now know as thepart of the UVC called the “Rules of the Road.” Over the years, other chapters were added to the UVC. Everything wascombined in a single edition of the UVC shortly after World War II.The NCUTLO is still active today in producing what is generally accepted as anational guideline for uniform state traffic laws and local ordinances. Thecode has been revised approximately every four years since 1926.

    Interstate Compacts and Institutions

    Over the past six or seven decades many individuals, organiza-tions, andinstitutions have dedicated intellect, time, and funding to providing a safer,more efficient highway transportation system.

    Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson established nationalcommittees which became known as the President’s Committees for TrafficHighway Safety. Advisory groups were formed to establish action programsranging from accident records, laws and ordinances, driver licensing, policetraffic services, engineering, and public support and information, to researchand development. These programs, and the many dedicated people who worked onthem, soon recognized the need for coordination, balance, and comprehensiveconcepts, which in later years became known as the “systemsapproach.”

    The U.S. Constitution provides that, before the various states can enter into acompact, they must have the consent of the Congress. Representative Beamer sawthe need for consent ahead of time to encourage state compacts in the trafficsafety field. In 1958, the so-called “Beamer Resolution” passedCongress, and gave permission for states to pursue such compacts. Thislegislation resulted in the National Driver License Compact, the Non-ResidentViolator Compact, and the Motor Vehicle Safety Equipment Compact.A number of institutions were established such as the Automotive SafetyFoundation, the Traffic Institute at Northwestern University, the AmericanAssociation of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Traffic Division of theInternational Association of Chiefs of Police (later to become the HighwaySafety Advisory Committee to the Institute for Traffic Engineering, the National SafetyCouncil, the American Association of State Highway Transporta-tion Officials(formerly known as AASHO, now AASHTO), the Bureau of Public Roads of theDepartment of Commerce (now the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S.Department of Transportation), the Traffic Court Program of the American BarAssociation, the Safety Education Commission of the National EducationAssociation, and the American Automobile Association Motor Clubs.

    The Federal Aid Highway Act

    In 1956, the Federal Aid Highway Act was passed by Congress and signed byPresident Eisenhower. This created the system of interstate and nationaldefense highways, and the Federal Highway Trust Fund. It also called for astudy of the federal role in highway safety. A document entitled “TheFederal Role in Highway Safety” was published several years later andbecame one of the studies that influenced the landmark legislation in 1966(Senate Resolution 3005, to provide for a national safety program for theestablishment of safety standards for motor vehicles and interstate commerce,and Senate Resolution 3052) to provide for a coordinated national highwaysafety program known as the Highway Safety Act of 1966. This act called for theestablishment of national standards. Eventually there were 18 program standardswhich, in the view of some, have been diluted in recent years.

    The National Highway Safety Bureau (later changed to the NationalHighway Traffic Safety Administration) and the Federal Highway Administrationwere established. Note the distinction of one being “national” andthe other “federal.”

    The 1966 legislation was an expansion of the concepts of the 1956 Federal AidHighway Act. The Highway Safety Act called for statewide planning, focus ofresponsibilities through the governor of each state, local planning andparticipation, and funding mechanisms.

    Relationship to Highway Safety Program Standards

    Highway Safety Program Standard No. 6 calls for the elimination of all majorvariations in traffic codes, laws and ordinances among the politicalsubdivisions of a state, in order to increase the compatibility of theseordinances with a unified overall state policy on traffic safety codes andlaws, and to further the adoption of appropriate aspects of the Rules of theRoad section of the UVC among the states.

    The standards section calls for each state to develop and implement a programto achieve uniformity in traffic codes and laws throughout the state. Theprogram was to provide a plan to achieve uniform rules of the road in all ofits jurisdictions, and a plan to make the state's unified rules of the roadconsistent with similar unified plans of other states. Additionally, it callsfor continuing comparisons of all state and local laws, statutes, andordinances with comparable versions of the Rules of the Road section of theUVC.

    For many years, several states did, in fact, make comparative studies with theUVC, but very few, if any, go through this process today. For over 60 years,the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances has encouragedstates to use the UVC to achieve and maintain reasonable and realistic uniformtraffic laws and ordinances. For without such uniformity, how can reciprocity between and among the states be recognized and practiced?

    The Future of Reciprocity and Uniformity

    Advances in technology as applied to the highway environment and to the motorvehicle include, but are not limited to safety restraints, anti-lock brakes,passenger containment protection, and steel belted tires. As we review theseadvances, together with program advances addressing uniform laws, alcohol/drugabuse, driver licensing, police traffic supervision, and some behavioralchanges, we better understand our achievements in the area of highway safety.We must not, however, forget that the foundation of all these advances are thefederal, state, and local laws, which enable and authorize the creation,enactment and implementation of all of these factors in a comprehensive,uniform, systematic way. As a result, the states can and do enact reciprocalagreements between and among themselves so that each citizen/motorist can driveintrastate and interstate with the confidence of being in compliance with thelaw.

    Federal Agencies and Grants

    The following is a summary of the various federal agencies that are active inhighway safety and traffic enforcement, along with their roles andresponsibilities.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was established bythe Highway Safety Act of 1970, as the successor to the National Highway SafetyBureau, to carry out safety programs under the National Traffic and MotorVehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the Highway Safety Act of 1966. It alsoadministers consumer programs established by the Motor Vehicle Information andCost Savings Act, enacted in 1972.

    NHTSA is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic lossesresulting from motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished by setting andenforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles and items of motorvehicle equipment, and by funding grants to state and local governments forconducting effective local highway safety programs.

    NHTSA also investigates safety defects in motor vehicles, sets and enforcesfuel economy standards, helps states and local communities reduce the threatof drunk drivers, promotes the use of safety belts, child safety seats and airbags, investigates odometer fraud, establishes and enforces vehicle anti-theftregulations, and provides consumer information on motor vehicle safety topics.

    402 Funds

    The State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program was enacted by the HighwaySafety Act of 1966 as Section 402 of Title 23, United States Code. Grant fundsare provided to the states, the Indian nations, and U.S. territories each yearaccording to a statutory formula based on population and road mileage. Thegrants support state planning to identify and quantify highway safety problems,provide start-up or “seed” money for new programs, and give newdirection to existing safety programs.These funds are intended to catalyze innovative programs at the state and locallevel and leverage commitments of state, local, and private resources. TheSection 402 grant process has been successful in directing resources tonational and state priority safety programs.

    403 Funds

    The Research and Demonstration Grants Program was enacted by the Highway SafetyAct of 1966. Grant funds are provided to conduct research and demonstrationprojects on developing the most efficient and effective means of bringing aboutsafety improvements.

    Incentive Funds

    Section 408: The Alcohol Traffic Safety Program Act (Public Law 97-364),enacted in 1982, created Section 408 of the Highway Safety Act. It authorized$125 million in incentive grant funds to encourage state and local agencies todeal more aggressively with the impaired driving problem. These grants assistand provide recognition to states that establish laws and programs to deterdrunk and drugged driving, such as certain and swift arrest, licensesuspension, and rehabilitation of drunk driving offenders.Section 408 is administered by NHTSA. Grants are awarded to the states throughtheir designated Highway Safety Offices.

    Section 410: This is a section in Title 23 of the United States Code thatestablishes a federal alcohol incentive grant program designed to encourage states to enact strong, effective anti-drunk drivinglegislation and improve the enforcement of these laws. Section 410 alsopromotes the development and implementation of innovative programs to combatimpaired driving. The program is administered by the NHTSA. Grants are awardedto the states through their designated Highway Safety Offices.

    Section 153: Section 153 is a federal incentive grant program enacted by theIntermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) as Section 153of Title 23, United States Code. It promotes the passage of state safety beltand motorcycle helmet use laws and compliance with those laws. Section 153grants are administered by NHTSA. The grants are awarded to the states throughtheir designated Highway Safety Offices.

    The Federal Highway Administration

    The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was established as a component of theDepartment of Transportation in 1967 as a result of the Department ofTransportation Act (49 U.S.C. app. 1651 note). The agency administers thehighway transportation programs of the DOT in accordance with the provisions ofsection 6(a) of the act and other pertinent legislation.The FHWA carries out a broad range of highway transportation activitiesincluding the coordination of the highway mode with other modes oftransportation and ensuring that the nation's highway transportation system issafe, economical, and efficient with respect to the highway's impact on theenvironment and social and economic conditions.

    Federal-Aid Highway Program

    The FHWA administers the federal-aid highway program of financial assistance tothe states for highway construction and improvements. This program provides forconstruction and preser-vation of the approximately 42,500-mile national systemof interstate and defense highways and the improvement of approximately800,000 miles of other federal-aid primary, secondary, and urban roads andstreets. The agency also administers the Highway Bridge Replacement andRehabilitation Program to assist in the inspection, analysis, andrehabilitation or replacement of bridges both on and off the federal-aidhighway systems.

    The FHWA is responsible for carrying out several highway safety programs. Thesesafety programs provide funding for projects which remove, relocate, or shieldroadside obstacles; identify and correct hazardous locations; eliminate orreduce hazards at railroad crossings; and improve signing, pavement markings,and signalization.

    The agency promulgates and administers highway-related safety guidelinesproviding for the identification and surveillance of accident locations;highway design, construction, and maintenance; traffic engineering services;and highway-related aspects of pedestrian safety.

    Office of Motor Carrier Safety (OMCS)

    Under the authority of the motor carrier safety provisions of Title 49 of theU.S. Code, the FHWA, through the Office of Motor Carrier Safety, exercisesfederal regulatory jurisdiction over the safety performance of all commercialmotor carriers (trucks and buses) engaged in interstate and foreign commerce.The agency's motor carrier safety investigators conduct safety reviews at thecarriers' facilities and at roadside to determine the safety perfor-mance ofthe carriers' operations. Compliance reviews are conducted to follow up onproblem areas identified during the safety reviews and at times result inprosecution or other sanctions against violators of the federal motor carriersafety regulations or the hazardous materials transportation regulations.

    Grant Funds

    The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) provides grant funding fromthe federal government to the states to enforce uniform federal and statesafety and hazardous materials regulations and rules applicable to commercialmotor vehicles and their drivers. To qualify for participation, a state mustadopt and enforce the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)or similar state rules compatible with the FMCSRs and the HazardousMaterials Transportation Regulations.

    Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Program

    All drivers of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds ormore (what the vehicle and cargo would weigh fully loaded) and those of anysize transporting hazardous materials that are required to be placarded mustpossess a CDL. For buses, the law applies to drivers of vehicles designed tocarry 16 or more people.

    Research and Special Programs Administration

    The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) manages a number ofdiverse and intermodal programs that include hazardous materials transportationsafety, pipeline safety, transportation safety training, emergencytransportation involving national defense and resources, aviation datacollection and gathering statistics, and research and development.


    The Office of Hazardous Materials Transportation is responsible for hazardousmaterials transportation safety regulation and enforcement. It develops andissues safety standards addressing every aspect of hazardous materialstransportation for all types of transportation except marine bulk packaging.Each of the DOT modal administrations inspects and enforces the hazardousmaterials regulations applicable to their mode.

    Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

    The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), a bureau of the U.S.Department of the Treasury, is an interagency training facility for thepersonnel from approximately 70 federal law enforcement organizations.Facilities are available for extensive physical training and driver training complexes, indoor andoutdoor firearms ranges, and numerous practical exercise areas.Approximately 20 federal law enforcement agencies maintain on-site trainingstaffs. FLETC's interagency training mission for the federal participatingorganizations is threefold: to provide basic training; to provide advanced andspecialized programs geared to a common need; and to support organizationsconducting their own advanced and specialized training.


    The National Center for State and Local Enforcement Training was established atthe FLETC in 1982. The National Center is mandated to provide training forpersonnel from state and local law enforcement agencies. The center's primarygoal is to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with training ortechnical assistance in subject matter areas generally unavailable elsewhere.National Center policies focus not only on creating needed training, but alsoon encouraging networking and operational interaction after training. Suchinteraction among federal state, and local agencies is viewed as critical.

    NHSTA Regional Offices

  • Regional Administrator Regional Administrator NHTSA - Region I NHTSA - Region VI Transportation System Center 819 Taylor Street, Room 8A38 Kendall Square Code 903 Fort Worth, TX 76102-6177 Cambridge, MA 02142 (817) 334-3653 (617) 494-3427

  • Regional Administrator NHTSA - Region VII NHTSA - Region II P.O. Box 412515 222 Mamaroneck Avenue Kansas City, MO 64141 Room 204 (816) 822-7233 White Plains, NY 10605 (914) 682-6162 Regional Administrator

  • Regional Administrator 555 Zang Street, 4th Floor NHTSA - Region III Denver, CO 80228 BWI Commerce Park (303) 969-6917 7526 Connelley Drive, Suite L Hanover, MD 21076-1699 Regional Administrator (410) 768-7111 NHTSA - Region IX

  • Regional Administrator San Francisco, CA 94105 NHTSA - Region IV (415) 744-3089 1720 Peachtree Road, N.W. Suite 1048 Regional Administrator Atlanta, GA 30309 NHTSA - Region X (404) 347-4537 3140 Jackson Federal Building

  • Regional Administrator Seattle, WA 98174 NHTSA - Region V (206) 220-7640 18209 Dixie Highway, Suite A Homewood, IL 60430 (708) 206-3300

  • RegionalAdministrator NHTSA - Region VIII 211 Main Street, Suite 1000 915 Second Avenue

  • FHWA Regional Offices

  • Regional Administrator Regional Administrator FHWA - Region I FHWA - Region VII Leo W. O'Brien Federal Building 6301 Rockhill Road Clinton Avenue & North Pearl Street P.O. Box 419715 Room 719 Kansas City, MO 64131-6715 Albany, NY 12207 (816) 926-7490 (518) 472-6476

  • Regional Administrator FHWA - Region VIII FHWA - Region III 555 Zang Street Federal Highway Administration Room 400 10 South Howard Street, Suite 4000 Lakewood, CO 80228 Baltimore, MD 21201 (303) 969-6722 (410) 962-0093

  • Regional Administrator FHWA - Region IX FHWA - Region IV 211 Main Street 1720 Peachtree Road, N.W., Suite 200 Room 1100 Atlanta, GA 30367 San Francisco, CA 94105 (404) 347-4078 (415) 744-2639

  • Regional Administrator Regional Administrator FHWA - Region V FHWA - Region X 18209 Dixie Highway KOIN Center, Suite 600 Homewood, IL 60430-2294 222 S. W. Columbia Street (708) 206-3186 Portland, OR 97201

  • Regional Administrator FHWA - Region VI 819 Taylor Street, Rm. 8A00 P.O. Box 902003 Fort Worth, TX 76102 (817) 334-4393

  • Regional Administrator (503) 326-2064

  • National Center for State and Federal Law Enforcement Training National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Glynco, GA 31524



    Legal Issues U.S. Constitution and Traffic Law: Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court

    The following is a synopsis of the appellate court decisions pertainingto traffic law enforcement.


    Chemical Test:

    A driver was injured in collision. The investigating officermade an arrest at the hospital and persuaded a doctor to draw blood sample overthe protest and without consent of the driver. At the time, California had noim-plied consent or other law that would muddy the waters. The Court held thatthe officer had probable cause and arrest was legal under California law. Thus,the search and seizure of blood sample was constitutional incident to thearrest. The court held that there was no violation of the privilege againstself-incrimination as that constitutional right did not apply to physicalevidence. The privilege covers testimonial-type evidence.

    There was no violation of due process of law since the blood sample was takenby qualified personnel under proper medical procedures in a hospitalenvironment. The driver's right to counsel was not violated even though his counsel hadadvised the driver that he did not have to submit to a chemical test. Schmerberv. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966).

    Admissibility of Refusal of Chemical Test:

    Where a driver refused a chemicaltest, this refusal could be admitted into evidence at the trial, and it doesnot violate his constitutional rights. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553(1983). Saving Breath Sample for Defendant The U.S. Constitution does not require theprosecution to preserve a breath sample so that a defendant can have itanalyzed at a later time. California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479 (1984).

    Hit and Run

    Requiring a driver involved in an accident to stop and return to the scene andidentify himself does not violate his constitutional rights. California v.Byers, 402 U.S. 424 (1971).


    The government may create parking districts and prohibit nonresidentsfrom parking on public streets in such areas. It does not violate equalprotection of the law, since classifying parkers into residents andnonresidents was a reasonable classification. County Board v. Richards, 434U.S. 5 (1977).

    Stopping Drivers

    An officer cannot pull a single driver from the stream of traffic without atleast an articulable suspicion of wrong doing. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648(1979).


    As long as law enforcement officers conduct a nondiscretionary roadblock, itdoes not violate the Fourth Amendment. How many impaired drivers are arrestedis not relevant. Michigan v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, 110 S. Ct. 2481 (1990).

    Driver's License

    The Court held that a driver's license is an “important interest” andcannot be taken away or denied without affording the person due process of law.The Court avoided calling it a “right” or a “privilege.”Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535 (1971).

    However, later decisions have made some exceptions to the Bell case. In Dixonv. Love, 431 U.S. 105 (1977) it was held that no opportunity for a hearing wasrequired under a point system. In Mackey v. Montrym, 443 U.S. 1 (1979), underan implied consent law the license could be revoked first and the hearing couldcome later. In Illinois v. Batchelder, 463 U.S. 1112 (1983), an officer'saffidavit for refusal under the implied consent law does not have to recite thereasonable grounds the officer had that the driver was DWI.


    Where a DWI driver is transported to the police station and held, he is incustody for purposes of Miranda. Questioning in custody requires Mirandawarnings in misdemeanor cases. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984).  

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