News and updates from Smart, Safe & Sober about upcoming mobilizations, training opportunities, law enforcement agency initiatives, and more!
SS&S Newsletter Mar_Apr 2016

New Laws Effective July 1

New fine for "dooring," prohibition on smoking in cars with children under 8, and new passenger restrictions for learner's permit holders are among the changes.

A number of summary reports are available that outline the legislative changes passed by the 2016 Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor McAuliffe. Most changes go into effect July 1, 2016.

Justices Against Drunk Driving

The U.S. Supreme Court approved warrantless breath tests, but forbade warrantless blood tests during DUI arrests.

The Court combined three cases from lower courts in the Midwest for its ruling. All of them involved state laws criminalizing the refusal of blood and breath BAC tests. In North Dakota, Danny Birchfield received a 30-day sentence and fine for refusing a warrantless blood test and Michael Baylund lost his drivers’ license after officers told him refusing a warrantless blood test was a crime. In Minnesota, William Bernard challenged his prosecution after refusing a warrantless breath test.

“The impact of breath tests on privacy is slight, and the need for BAC [blood alcohol content] testing is great,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the Court in Birchfield v. North Dakota ;and its consolidated cases. “We reach a different conclusion with respect to blood tests. Blood tests are significantly more intrusive, and their reasonableness must be judged in light of the availability of the less invasive alternative of a breath test.”

Writing for the Court, Alito analyzed the tests under the Fourth Amendment’s search-incident-to-arrest exception. As its name suggests, the rule allows police officers to search a person’s body and immediate surroundings without a warrant after their lawful arrest. Breath BAC tests, he wrote, don’t rise to the level of intrusiveness the Fourth Amendment protects: they leave no permanent sample in the government’s possession and don’t undermine the arrestee’s dignity in any significant way.

But the justices in the majority refused to apply that logic to blood BAC tests, citing both the greater intrusiveness of obtaining blood and the wealth of other information that can be obtained from it.

“It is another matter, however, for a State not only to insist upon an intrusive blood test, but also to impose criminal penalties on the refusal to submit to such a test,” Alito wrote. “There must be a limit to the consequences to which motorists may be deemed to have consented by virtue of a decision to drive on public roads.”




New Central Region
Program Manager
Kimberly Burt

For the past 8 years, Kimberly Burt has been the Program Manager overseeing the highway safety grants awarded to state agencies and non-profit organizations. Effective June 25, Kim has accepted the position as Program Manager for the Central Region. In this new position, she will now be working with law enforcement agencies who receive highway safety grants.

Soon, Kim will begin making visits to the law enforcement grantees in the Central Region to introduce herself and get to know more about the different programs and initiatives the Central Region grantees are working on.

If you are one of the grantees in this region, be sure to reach out to Kim if you have any questions about your grants or need any assistance with your programs. Her email address is kimberly.burt@

New Bristol Region Program Manager
Rick Clark

A new face to the Highway Safety Office, Rick Clark fills the position that was previously held by Monty Mills who retired last year. He will be overseeing the law enforcement highway safety grantees in the Bristol Region, ensuring that agencies' educational programs and enforcement efforts are on track.

Rick joined the Highway Safety Office in April after more than 26 years with the Roanoke Police Department where he was a traffic officer and a member of the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board.

Rick is also going to be reaching out to the grantees in his region and familiarizing himself with your projects. He can be reached at Rick.Clark@

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over July 4th Campaign

July 4
National Campaign Materials

National Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign

August 17 – September 5
National Campaign Materials

Child Passenger Safety Week

September 18-24

Campaign Materials

National Seat Check Saturday: Sept 24

Upcoming Trainings, Campaigns & Important Dates

Vehicle Theft Prevention Month
July 2016

VACP Small Law Enforcement Agency Symposium
July 18-19 • Galax

Below 100 Training
July 19 • Galax

DUID Trainings
Jul 28 • Farmville 
Sept 14 • Richmond

Back to School Safety Month
August 2016

Crash Data Retrieval Analyst Training
Aug 22-26 • Roanoke

Virginia Sheriffs' Association Annual Conference
Sep 11 – 13 • Leesburg

VACP Annual Conference
Sept 18-21 • Roanoke

Virginia Distracted Driving Summit
Sept 29-30 • Newport News

IACP Annual Conference
Oct 15-18 • San Diego, CA

National Teen Driver Safety Week
Oct 16-22


Breaking the Invincibility Code: How the 'Below 100' Initiative Is Improving the Law Enforcement Safety Culture

Law enforcement officers and leaders share a common ideology, the belief that there is no higher calling than that of those who put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect others—the calling of a peace officer. All officers also understand and appreciate the dangers inherent to this noble profession.

Every year, law enforcement officers across the United States (and across the world) are killed in the line of duty. ... Those who are drawn to this profession know there are risks involved. Those who choose to wear the badge tend to be confident and assertive people. While these personality traits are necessary to be an effective peace officer, they may also be a primary culprit in placing officers unnecessarily at risk. A sense of invincibility is a common belief that lurks within the law enforcement culture, and it can influence judgment when officers weigh personal risk against the urgency of the immediate situation. It factors into how fast officers drive or whether or not they wear their seat belt, body armor, or other safety gear. ...

Below 100 Initiative

While many line-of-duty deaths are not preventable, far too many are. In order to achieve the greatest and most expeditious success in reducing the number of deaths, law enforcement agencies must immediately focus on those that are preventable. ...

The Below 100 initiative was developed and implemented in 2011, by Dale Stockton, editor-in-chief of Law Officer magazine, and Captain Travis Yates of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Department. The mission of the Below 100 initiative is to reduce the number of U.S. law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on an annual basis to fewer than 100. The Below 100 initiative emphasizes the fact that there are real dangers on this job that law enforcement cannot completely control. However, officers can control their own actions. By following the initiative’s five tenets, law enforcement officers minimize their risk of being seriously injured or killed.

The Five Key Tenets of "Below 100":

  • Wear Your Belt
  • Wear Your Vest
  • Watch Your Speed
  • Always Think WIN (What’s Important Now)
  • Remember, Complacency Kills


Tuesday, July 19 • 1-5 PM

Future Below 100 Trainings are being scheduled throughout Virginia. Check the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police website for listings or — if you'd like to host a training at your agency or academy — contact Erin Schrad at


‘Who’s your driver?’ has new meaning in Virginia

By Dave Lawrence, Richmond Times-Dispatch

When Gov. Terry McAuliffe asked the question Thursday at Richmond International Raceway, he wasn’t interested in chatting about the pros and cons of various NASCAR stars.

Instead, he wanted Virginians planning a night on the town, a day at the lake or some other type of fun to make sure they know who among them will stay sober and drive them home alive.

“When NASCAR fans meet, as you know, for the first time, they always have the same question: 'Who’s your driver?' ” McAuliffe said when announcing the program in an event in RIR’s Victory Lane. “It’s also a great question to ask yourself and ask your friends when you’re going out at night. If you’re going to go out and you intend to have a few beers or other alcoholic beverages, you need to be prepared to answer the question.”

The program, created by a partnership among Richmond International Raceway, DRIVE SMART Virginia and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office, also promotes seat belt use.

“It covers two of the areas that we actually call the ‘Big Dog areas,’ and that’s impaired driving and seat belt use,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Region 3 administrator Elizabeth Baker. “They’re still the most intractable problems that we have, so we’re thrilled to see efforts like this.” ...

The program was a natural fit for a partnership with Richmond International Raceway, as a substantial portion of NASCAR’s fans are drawn from the same demographic that is the primary target of the campaign: men aged 18 to 44. According to NASCAR, its fans overall are 62 percent male. Two out of five are in the 18 to 44 age range.

George Bishop, deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said the target audience of the “Who’s Your Driver?” campaign are males 21 to 35. He said nearly 44 percent of all alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2015 involved people in that age group, and that 76 percent of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the state in 2015 were male. ...


UNITED FRONT: Five Richmond-area law enforcement agencies coordinate communications to address underage drinking

Five law enforcement agencies in Virginia’s capital launched a public awareness campaign in fall 2015 to communicate the physical, professional and legal effects of underage drinking to college students.

Marketed as “RVA Buzzkill” in Richmond, Va., campaign materials and messages were adapted with permission from the Ohio Drug Free Action Alliance. RVA Buzzkill united police departments at Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University, the University of Richmond and Reynolds Community College. The Richmond Police Department also participated in the campaign.

The target audience for RVA Buzzkill was students living in the neighborhoods surrounding Richmond-area colleges. Off-campus students lease apartments and houses during the academic year which are prime locations for serving alcohol. 

Read more

Governors 2016 Transportation Safety Awards Announced

Groups and Citizens Recognized for Commitment to Saving Lives

RICHMOND - Virginia's top transportation safety advocates were honored June 28 during a ceremony at Virginia's Executive Mansion. Governor Terry McAuliffe and DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb presented the 2016 Governor's Transportation Safety Awards

The following individuals and organizations were honored for outstanding contributions to transportation safety:

  • Lifetime Achievement — F.W. "Wakie" Howard, Jr., New Kent
    Sheriff F. W. "Wakie" Howard, Jr. served as sheriff of New Kent County for 36 years. When elected in 1979, Sheriff Howard was the youngest sheriff in the state. He was the longest serving sheriff among Virginia's sheriffs upon his retirement. During his career, Sheriff Howard served on numerous local, state and national safety committees and has always been a strong supporter of transportation safety in the Commonwealth. He has testified or had representatives from his department testify at the General Assembly on various transportation safety topics. Sheriff Howard, his department, and his staff received countless awards and recognitions at the state and national levels during his tenure as sheriff. (More about Sheriff Howard's contributions)
  • Employer Safety — Ryder System, Lexington
  • General Traffic Safety — Lt. Larry E. Humphries, Virginia State Police
  • Impaired Driving — The Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, Richmond
  • Law Enforcement — Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Richmond
  • Media — Roanoke Valley Regional Coalition
  • Motor Carrier Safety — David W. Boyer, Fries
  • Motorcycle Safety — Trish Adams, Suffolk
  • Occupant Protection — Town of Chilhowie Fire and EMS Department, Chilhowie
  • Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety — Sports Backers, Richmond
  • Pupil Transportation — Ginger Rothermel, Norfolk 
  • Youth Traffic Safety — DRIVE SMART Virginia, Richmond

The Governor's Transportation Safety Awards were awarded by DMV's Highway Safety Office. Nominations were accepted in March. Entries were judged on creativity, imagination, uniqueness, impact on the community, and the use of volunteers and private sector resources.

"We are happy to take this time to recognize the impressive efforts made by Virginians to help make an impact on the safety of everyone who shares our roadways," said Commissioner Holcomb who is also the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "What these folks are doing is saving lives and, for that, we are very grateful."



GHSA Alarmed by Data Linking Speed Limit Increase to Fatalities

Supports Traditional and Automated Enforcement to Reduce Speeds and Crashes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is troubled by new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that illustrates how increasing speed limits in states across the country between 1993 and 2013 has led to 33,000 fatalities on U.S. roadways.

Speeding is often a forgotten issue in highway safety. But the truth is that excessive speed contributes to a tremendous proportion of all traffic fatalities. In 2014, there were 9,262 people who died in speeding-related crashes (28% of all fatalities).

Increasing speed limits has the potential to exacerbate this problem. We know that crashes are more deadly as speeds increase. In addition, most drivers treat maximum speeds as a minimum target. Past research has shown that as posted speed limits are raised, drivers will exceed these limits, and more fatal crashes will result. This new research reinforces earlier studies and provides clear evidence of the negative safety implications from increasing speed limits.

Rather than increase speed limits, GHSA encourages states and communities to vigorously enforce existing speed limits through both traditional means, using police officers to detect violations, and by judicious use of speed cameras, which have been proven effective at reducing speeds and crashes.

GHSA publishes speed state maximum speed limits on its website at

Continue reading

SURVEY: Law Enforcement Occupant Protection

FROM: Ann L. Edwards, M.S., Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University

As you are aware, there are more law enforcement deaths resulting from vehicle crashes than by any other means. Focusing on occupant protection by law enforcement personnel is vital. As part of that focus, research must examine occupant protection as part of the overall safety of officers.

As a PhD candidate in psychology at ODU, my research and educational specialty is traffic safety.   I am writing to ask for your help with my latest research effort — a survey about seat-belt use and how that may be affected by the different tasks of law enforcement.  

The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete and is totally ANONYMOUS. No one in your jurisdiction will be identifiable by their responses. Therefore, I will be unable to share any individual’s data with his/her supervisors, which for research purposes is extremely important for obtaining usable and valid data.  Further, jurisdictions will not be identified (personnel are not asked to name specific jurisdictions). Data will be aggregated at no lower than the geographical (rural, urban, suburban) and jurisdiction-type levels (federal, state, county, city, campus), as we are seeking information about larger groupings within the Commonwealth.

In order to thank law enforcement personnel for participating in the research, there will be a RAFFLE for ten (10) $25 Amazon gift cards and one (1) 16GB IPad Mini 2.

CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY (If you're already responded, there is no need to do so again.)


DUID Training for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

The Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council (CASC) will be conducting six DUID Training Programs across the Commonwealth in 2016. This training, for prosecutors and LEO’s, focuses on the difficult cases involving driver impairment due to the use of illegal and/or prescription drugs.

Topics to be covered include: Recognizing the Drugged Driver, Keys to Winning DUID Cases, Blood Testing Issues, and much more. The latest version of the Virginia DUI Manual will be distributed to all participants.

There is NO CHARGE for this single-day training program. Lunch will be provided. MCLE and In-Service Training Credits have been awarded.

The DUID Program will be presented at the following locations in 2016:

For more information, contact Ed Hibbard at or 757-253-4994. 

Advanced DUI Training for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

August 23-26, 2016 • Stonewall Jackson Hotel – Staunton, VA

Topics to be covered at this intensive training include Investigative Stops, Checkpoints, Blood Testing Issues and DUI Manslaughter. The latest version of the Virginia DUI Manual will be distributed to participants. Much like CASC's TOP GUN training, this training program utilizes a team-training format requiring a team consisting of a prosecutor and a law enforcement officer from the same jurisdiction. 

There is no charge for this 3 1/2-day long training program. Overnight accommodations beginning Tuesday, August 23rd will be provided, as will all breakfasts and lunches beginning August 24th. In-Service Training Credits and MCLE credits have been awarded.

For more information, contact Ed Hibbard at or 757-253-4994.

Click here to register for Advanced DUI Staunton

Additional training programs for law enforcement and prosecutors from the CASC can be found at

McAuliffe signs bill authorizing license plate honoring Meg Menzies, Hanover jogger killed by drunk driver

Menzies was the wife of Ashland Police Sgt. Scott Menzies

When motorists come across a license plate featuring the silhouette of Meg Menzies, her mother hopes that the license plate will deter people from driving while distracted or drunk, as the driver did who fatally struck Menzies on a January morning in 2014.

Menzies, a 34-year-old mother of three from Hanover County and an avid runner, was running with her husband when she was killed by Michael L. Carlson as he drove his SUV. Carlson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison.

The plates cost $35 and revenue from the plates will be used to establish a scholarship fund at Hanover HS and Atlee HS in Menzies’ memory. The plates will be available in July.


Virginia GrandDriver website gets overhauled

Did you know the Virginia Grand Driver website was refreshed during the FY2015 grant year? The website is user-friendly with sections for senior drivers, caregivers, and professionals in health care, law enforcement as well as judicial.

The information provided under the professional section for law enforcement will assist law enforcement in recognizing the physical and psychological cues suggesting a senior may not be fit to drive.


Don't forget about the Officer Belt Use Poster Campaign!

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is still producing customized posters for any agencies interested in participating in this campaign to encourage belt use by officers both on duty and off. Traffic crashes remain a leading cause of line of duty deaths and many could be prevented if officers were committed to buckling up every trip, every time... no exceptions.

We do request that agencies requesting these posters implement an Officer Belt Use Policy. A sample policy is available for download HERE (Word doc).

There is also a roll call training video produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police called "Is Today Your Day?" that you can use in conjunction with the poster campaign.  The video is viewable online HERE.

For more information about the poster campaign and to see sample posters, CLICK HERE.

Copyright © 2016 Virginia's Smart, Safe & Sober Partnership (c/o Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police), All rights reserved.
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