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March 2012 
J. Stannard Baker Award for Traffic Safety Award Information


The National Sheriffs' Association is seeking nominations for the J. Stannard Baker Award. This award recognizes a sheriff or deputy sheriff who has made outstanding contributions to traffic safety.


PURPOSE: To establish a prestigious national award to recognize and employee(s) who has made significant contributions or accomplishments directly related to highway safety.


SPONSORSHIP: The United States Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Traffic Institute of Northwestern University, and the National Sheriffs' Association.


AWARDS PANEL: The annual award will be managed by the National Sheriffs' Association. The selection panel will be comprised of members of the National Sheriffs' Association - Traffic Safety Committee.


CATEGORIES: An award will be given to an employee from any city/county Office of the Sheriff or any civilian within the nominating agencies jurisdiction.



  1. Development of Unique Law Enforcement/Community Traffic Safety Programs. This is to recognize an employee (officer, deputy sheriff) from an Office of the Sheriff who have shown unusual initiative and imagination in developing and promulgating traffic safety programs. A Heroic or Meritorious service act involving a traffic safety function is acceptable within the category.
  2. Special Award to Governmental or Private Individuals. The award panel may grant a special award to any individual judged who has made an outstanding contribution to highway safety.

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates for the National Sheriffs' Association - J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety must be a full-time paid officer, deputy sheriff from a city/county Office of the Sheriff.  


The employer or civilian being nominated must have contributed to the highway safety program in their governmental agency. Long years of service are a consideration but not the determining factor. Equally, short services is to be considered. However, the quality of the service or program is the essential factor.  


To receive this ward, the individual must first be nominated by a law enforcement agency, traffic safety group or official, and second, must be a full-time paid employee of a city/county Office of the Sheriff.  


An individual from either the public or private sector, who has also made a significant contribution to highway safety would also be eligible for this award. This special award is designed to recognize the individual efforts of government employees, such as traffic engineers, educators, judges, prosecutors, motor vehicle examiners, etc., who have also made outstanding contributions to highway safety programs and issues.


The deadline for the J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety is May 1, 2012! Applications must be received in the NSA office.  Click here for your application.


Drug Use Rises in California Fatal Crashes
Increasing Rates Prompt New Law Enforcement Training, Drug Testing Equipment and Prosecution Programs

SACRAMENTO, Calif., (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The problem of drugged driving continues to rise, according to figures released today by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30 percent of all drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in California in 2010 tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs, a percentage that has been increasing since 2006.  


Drugged driving is a problem not widely recognized by the public, but increases in crashes, fatalities and injuries point out that we all must acknowledge this serious problem and work to curb it. The problem of drugged driving is growing, even while DUI fatalities have been in decline. Drugs which can impair driving are not only illegal narcotics and stimulants, but can be prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well as marijuana and its synthetic substitutes. Many, when combined with alcohol, heighten the effect of both.  


"You can be as deadly behind the wheel with marijuana or prescription drugs as you can with over-the-limit alcohol," said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "The bottom line is drugs and driving do not mix."  


Drug-impaired driving is often under-reported and under-recognized and toxicology testing is expensive. Additionally, because there is no established impairment level for drugs, prosecuting drug impaired driving cases can be difficult.  


With the increased awareness of this growing problem, the Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol are working together to provide Officers statewide with specialized training to detect and apprehend drug-impaired drivers. The federally funded program, new to California and developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is called Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). In the past five months alone, more than 700 officers from police departments across the state have attended ARIDE training.  


Police Departments are also being encouraged to send Officers to the most advanced drug recognition program to become Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). CHP manages the statewide program that currently has over 1000 officers as active DRE's -- the most in the nation. Drug detection experts will be in place more often at DUI checkpoints and federally funded grant support will be used to fund operations to detect and apprehend drug-impaired drivers.  


"This invaluable ARIDE and DRE training for law enforcement is the key to successfully removing drug-impaired drivers from the road, ultimately reducing the number of people killed and injured by irresponsible behavior and making our communities a safer place," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "It's also imperative that the public realize the synergistic effect of combining alcohol with prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and the danger this presents while driving."  


OTS announced last month that Sacramento and Orange Counties were awarded federal funding to purchase state-of-the-art drug testing equipment. District Attorney Offices in eight counties are being funded to create special "vertical prosecution" teams that will follow drug-impaired driving cases from arrest through trial. Regional Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors are providing training to District Attorney Offices on how to successfully prosecute drug impaired driving cases.  


"Drug impaired driving is the new challenge for not only law enforcement and the judicial system, but for DUI prevention efforts as well," said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten, president of the California District Attorneys Association. "We need to make sure that drivers displaying objective signs of drug impairment either through bad driving or failed standardized field sobriety testing are arrested and prosecuted."  


Research shows drugs have an adverse effect on judgment, reaction time, motor skills and memory -- critical skills for safe and responsible driving. Recently, experts at the Dalhousie University in Canada released the results of a study that found that drivers who had used marijuana within three hours of driving had nearly double the risk of causing a crash as those not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Canadian research reviewed nine studies of more than 49,000 people involved in crashes.  


In fall 2010, six cities in California conducted nighttime weekend "voluntary" roadside surveys and found that the percentage of drivers who tested positive for marijuana (8.4%) was greater than the percentage that were using alcohol (7.6%).  


SOURCE: California Office of Traffic Safety

Many teens not getting driver's ed


By Kerry Grens


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than one in five U.S. teens never received driver's education before getting their licenses, according to a new report.


Among states that don't require formal driver training, the rate of teens who have not had driver's ed is even greater, although that doesn't mean teens are any less safe behind the wheel, researchers caution.

"This shouldn't be used as an alarm bell," said Jean Shope, a professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, who was not involved in this study. "I don't think from what's written (in the study) that we can conclude that if someone didn't take it, they're a bad driver or they should've taken it. We just don't know."


Driver's ed typically involves 30 hours of classroom learning and six hours behind the wheel with an instructor. Schools sometimes offer the classes, and there are also privately run programs.


The original aim of driver's ed was to produce safer teenage drivers, as they are four times more likely overall to crash than older drivers.


Most studies have not shown that driver education programs actually result in fewer crashes, however.

There are some efforts now to update these programs nationwide to make them more effective at improving safety.


To get a handle on just how many teens go through formal training before getting a license, the research team surveyed more than 1,700 high school students from 34 states, 25 of which have a driver-education requirement.


In the journal Pediatrics, the authors report that the states without a requirement had lower rates of teens going through driver education, and certain groups of kids -- including blacks, Hispanics, boys and kids with low academic achievement -- had especially low numbers.


"We would like to see higher numbers in the states that don't have requirements, since more than one in three teens in these states still aren't getting drivers ed," said Allison Curry, the study's lead author and a researcher at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.


In states in the Midwest with no mandate, for instance, only three out of 10 teen drivers had gone through formal training, compared to more than nine out of ten teens in Midwestern states with a driver's ed mandate.


"You can imagine in states that don't have driver education mandates, some jurisdictions may not offer school based driver education. So overall it might be less accessible in states without mandates," Curry told Reuters Health.


Among Hispanic students who lived in states without a requirement, just three out of 10 went through driver education, compared to eight out of 10 in states with a requirement.


A little more than half of boys, black students, kids who earned poor grades, and kids who went to schools in lower socioeconomic-status areas had had driver education in the no-requirement states, compared to more than eight in 10 members of those groups in the other states.


"I think some of the finding has to do with logistical and financial burden when there are no mandates," Curry told Reuters Health.


If states have fewer school-based programs, students have to seek out private programs, which can cost several hundred dollars.


"It's not that surprising that there's more driver education in situations where you might have a higher socioeconomic status," said Shope.


Curry said the findings for black and Hispanic students, males, and kids from poorer areas "is especially concerning...because these groups have been shown to have higher rates of risky driving behaviors and crashes."


But it's not clear that increasing the rates of driver education will lead to fewer crashes.


Shope said driver education is good way to help teens learn to maneuver a car and understand the rules of the road, but it doesn't necessarily make them safer.


"What we think makes a bigger difference is the supervised practice driving that a teen does, hopefully for many months, usually with a parent in the car," Shope told Reuters Health.


Curry said there's been an interest among researchers and policy makers to produce a more updated, national curriculum based on a better scientific understanding of how driver safety can be improved among teens.


The current "curriculum has largely remained unchanged since driver education was first introduced in the mid 1950s," Curry said.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided recommendations to update states' driver education programs to incorporate practices based on research findings.


In a statement emailed to Reuters Health, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "with teen drivers continuing to account for a disproportionate number of the fatal crashes on our roadways each year, NHTSA has made it a priority to work with our state safety partners to tackle this issue head on."


The NHTSA's new guidance encourages evidenced-based practices such as getting parents more involved in driver training and extending the time spent in the classroom and behind the wheel.


Curry said she's optimistic that, if they are implemented, the recommendations will improve driver education.


SOURCE: Pediatrics, February 13, 2012.


Jeffrey Zaslow's Death Underscores Problems On The Roads


Below is an article on the death of Jeffrey Zaslow, a famous Wall Street Journal columnist who died last week in an automobile crash. The article is entitled, "Jeffrey Zaslow's Death Underscores Problems On The Roads," and was posted on the internet on 02/14/2012 8:00 am, by writer, Sharon Silke Carty writing for the Huffington Post. Within the article, a friend a Jeffrey Zaslow comments on his life and the life of others, Dr. Jeffrey Runge, former head of NHTSA for 2001 to 2005. The article is an excellent expose on safety culture-does it take a famous person to die in an automobile crash to change safety culture? The author talks about [safety] "culture as not a fixed entity. It changes with time and stimulus from society."


NHTSA Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies (TOPS)


The TOPS course covers a wide range of information addressing education reporting and enforcement issues related to occupant protection. It also includes the dynamics of vehicle crashes and the risks faced by law enforcement officers. It also instructs law enforcement officers how to conduct an initial evaluation of a crash scene, and how to assist in crash reconstruction. Other course modules include subjects such as "looking beyond the ticket" for criminal infractions, management of resources, public information, outreach techniques, working with community advocacy groups and the media, and air bag rescue guidelines.


We have posted the entire curriculum online ready for immediate download.  The download files consist of:


Instructor Guides

All PowerPoint Presentations

All Supporting Videos


Go to the 'Library and Information Portal' and click on the link to 'NHTSA Training Curricula.'


See also the 'Academy Director's Forum Bulletin Board' under the 'Traffic Safety Training' topic heading.


Teen deaths in car crashes up 

By ASHLEY HALSEY III The Washington Post


More teenagers die in automobile accidents than any other way each year, and it appears that the number of teen deaths on the highway may have climbed in 2011 for the first time in eight years.


The federal statistics still are being compiled, but data collected by the Governors Highway Safety Association for the first six months of 2011 show an uptick in teen fatalities. The GHSA is an organization of state highway safety coordinators, who shared the preliminary data that they submit to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that tracks national trends.


The raw numbers of the increase were not huge - the number of 16-year-olds killed increased from 80 to 93, and among 17-year-olds it went from 110 to 118 - but in an era when teen deaths and overall highway fatalities have been in steady decline, they raised alarms with safety advocates.


"Congress should provide financial incentives to states that have strengthened or will strengthen teen driving laws," said Barbara Harsha, executive director of GHSA.


She called on NHTSA to figure out how to get more teens to use seat belts and said Congress should fund distracted-driving efforts aimed at teen drivers.


A Pew Research Center survey said 43 percent of teenagers said they have talked on a cellphone while driving, 48 percent said they had been in car with a driver who was texting and 40 percent said they had been in a car when the driver used a cellphone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.


The Obama administration this week asked Congress to authorize $330 million over the next six years to combat distracted driving, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been in the vanguard of a crusade to address it.


Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 19,076 teenagers died in crashes in a seven-year period that ended in 2006. Male deaths (12,479) outnumbered female deaths, and teens were nearly twice as likely to die at night.


"Research also needs to be done to determine the impact of changing school start times so that teens are less likely to be driving fatigued," Harsha said.


The GHSA report released Thursday was done by Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Williams said the increase in deaths might be because the positive effect of state graduated driver licensing laws, which have been in place for several years, might be leveling off. He also speculated that improving economic conditions have resulted in an increase in teen driving.


"While it is not a surprise that these numbers are stabilizing or slightly increasing, states should not accept these deaths as something that cannot be prevented," Williams said. "More work can and should be done to save teen lives."


GHSA Chairman Troy E. Costales encouraged parents to establish expectations before they let teenagers drive.


"As the parent of a young driver and a soon-to-be-driver, I know firsthand the pressures parents face in allowing their teens behind the wheel," Costales said. "We must set and enforce strict rules for our new drivers, making sure risks are minimized. This includes limiting other teens in the car, limiting nighttime driving and absolutely prohibiting any type of cellphone or electronic device use while driving."

FLETC Training Online - FREE

FREE Law Enforcement Training For Sworn Officers!

Apply today for a free subscription to Law Enforcement Online, an eLearning Library funded by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. You will have access to 200 online courses which you can complete directly on your computer. Many of these courses are certified for in-service credit by POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) agencies. So don't wait.


See the posting on NLEARN for course registration information and links.


See also the 'Academy Director's Forum Bulletin Board' under the 'In-Service Training' topic heading.


Chrysler Issues Recall on Police Cruisers


Chrysler Group is conducting a voluntary safety recall of 2011 and 2012 Dodge Charger Police vehicles.

Chrysler will replace the headlamp jumper harnesses and relocate a fuse in the ABS/ESC system. The issue could affect low-beam headlamp operation, and could cause a loss of anti-lock brake / Electronic Stability Control system function.

The vehicles affected are:
2011 Dodge Charger Manufacture date: 1/1/2011 to 7/11/2011
2012 Dodge Charger 7/25/2011 to 12/20/2011


Pursuit Policy Training Online - FREE


Pursuit Policy Workshop is now available as an online training module!


This training is available to ALL police officers.  You do not need to be a member of NLEARN to take advantage of this training opportunity.


In this one-hour lesson your patrol officers will achieve the following objectives:

  • Discuss US Supreme Court decisions and State-specific statutes that have impacted and governed vehicular pursuit operations
  • Discuss the components of the IACP vehicular pursuit policy guide
  • Compare your agency's current pursuit policy with the IACP pursuit guidelines
  • Develop an action plan for your agency that supports vehicular pursuit operations and addresses any weak or missing areas within the current pursuit policy

Just go to the IADLEST web site at: and click on the Pursuit Training icon or link.


See also the 'Academy Director's Forum Bulletin Board' under the 'Traffic Safety Training' topic heading.


The National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendation to the 50 states and the District of Columbia:


(1) Ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers;


(2) use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration model of high visibility enforcement to support these bans; and


(3) implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and enforcement, and to warn them of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving. (H-11-39)

NHTSA Announces Proposed Guidelines to Reduce Driver Distraction

Written by: Jason Udy 


In an unprecedented announcement today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed the first-ever federal guidelines to encourage automakers to design infotainment systems that would reduce driver distraction during use.


The proposed guidelines would be voluntary and "would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers." The press release said the guidelines would apply to "in-vehicle communications, entertainment, information gathering, and navigation" systems. Safety features such as forward-collision or lane departure alerts and other electronic warning devices would be exempt.


"Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America's roadways - that's why I've made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel," said Secretary LaHood, in a press release. "These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages."


NHTSA said the guidelines announced today are the first in a series of ongoing "guidance documents" it plans to address as other sources of distraction are identified. Sources of distraction are anything that "requires use of the hands and/or diversion of the eyes from the primary task of driving."


"We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today's American drivers," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, in a press release. "The guidelines we're proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want-without disrupting a driver's attention or sacrificing safety."

Phase I proposed guidelines encourage automakers to design infotainment systems and devices that are less likely to be a source of distraction. According to NHTSA, recommendations included in the proposed  


Phase I distraction guidelines are:

  • Reduce complexity and task length required by the device; 
  •  Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
  • Limit individual off road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
  • Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view;
  • Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.


Also included in the proposed guidelines is the disabling of any in-vehicle devices for the driver. Devices intended to be used by passengers and are not accessible to the driver unless vehicle is stopped and in park include:

  • Visual-manual text messaging; 
  • Visual-manual internet browsing;
  • Visual-manual social media browsing;
  • Visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address;
  • Visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing;
  • Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.


Proposed Phase II guidelines are being considered by NHTSA. Phase II would encourage manufacturers of aftermarket electronics (such as navigation systems, smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices) to design devices to comply to the above proposed guidelines. Proposed Phase III guidelines would encourage automakers and aftermarket companies to incorporate more voice-activated controls to limit driver distraction.


The proposed "driver distraction" guidelines would apply to light vehicles under 10,000 Pounds GVW.

The proposed Phase I guidelines are open for public comment for 60 days and can be found in today's Federal Register. NHTSA will issue final guidelines "after the agency reviews and analyzes and responds to public input." Public hearings will also be held on the proposed guidelines, and NHTSA encourages public comment. Hearings will take place in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. in March.


President Obama requested $330 million over the next six years for distracted driving programs in his fiscal year 2013 budget request. The president wants to increase awareness of distracted driving.

Source: NHTSA

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