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

Click It or Ticket 2013

Happy Summer!

by Erin Schrad, Editor & VACP Communications Manager

I know everyone has been busy out there with Click It or Ticket... keep it up!  Just one final push through the weekend to put another campaign in the books!  Don't forget to conduct your POST-mobilization seat belt surveys next week and report the data in TREDS by Friday, June 7! Your Enforcement Data should be collected and submitted as soon as possible.  And if you've got pictures or stories you'd like to share, let me know! Send me an email at

Be sure to keep an eye on the Smart, Safe & Sober Calendar for upcoming safety campaigns and mobilizations. Remember... you can subscribe to the SS&S Google-hosted calendar in your calendar program so that you always have an up-to-date listing of trainings, mobilizations and more at your fingertips. Also, NHTSA has now released materials for several upcoming summer and fall campaigns... links to several of these are on the right-hand side. More can be found at

For more information about NHTSA's plans for the rest of the year and beyond, read this memo.

A little update on the 2012 Law Enforcement Challenge Awards... despite an all-new electronic submission process this year that came with a bit of a learning curve, we still managed to collect 38 entries from Virginia agencies in the state and national programs!  Thank you so much to everyone who participated.  The judging process is on a different timetable this year because of the electronic submissions, so please be patient on hearing about results. The state awards will be presented at the VACP Annual Conference at the end of August in Williamsburg.

And now is a good time for any agency who hasn't participated in the Challenge awards program in recent years to think about rejoining the program! If you make a concerted effort throughout the rest of the year to participate in all of the traffic safety initiatives (which you probably are anyway!) and document your efforts with pictures and clippings and your enforcement data, you'll have what you need to submit an entry next year for your 2013 activities!!  You can use the resources from the 2012 application process to plan out what you need to do to enter.  And contact me if you have any questions!

And speaking of awards... the VACP has made some good progress on getting the Saved by the Belt & Bag Awards program back on track. A new review committee has been established and we have created an online reviewing system for the committee members to utilize to read submissions and record their decisions. Review of submissions should be underway soon.

If you are concerned about a pending application or have any questions about the program, please contact Suzanne Robinson at or (804) 285-8227.


Seven Traffic-Related Deaths on Virginia's Highways Over Memorial Day Weekend

According to preliminary reports, Virginia experienced its first significant decline in Memorial Day weekend traffic deaths in several years. Not since 2009, have fatalities been in the single-digits for the four-day statistical counting period for the holiday weekend. From 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 24, 2013) through midnight Monday (May 27, 2013), preliminary numbers indicate seven people lost their lives in traffic deaths on Virginia’s highways.

The seven reported traffic deaths occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Amelia, Carroll, Fairfax, Patrick and Southampton. The Amelia County fatality claimed the life of a motorcyclist; and the Newport News and Carroll County deaths involved pedestrians. Of the remaining three fatalities, none was wearing a seat belt.

During the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police participated in both Click It or Ticket and Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Operation CARE is a state-sponsored, national program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries associated with speed, failure to wear seat belts and impaired driving. The 2013 Operation CARE initiative resulted in 11,990 speeders and 2,609 reckless drivers being stopped, and 137 drunken drivers taken off the road and arrested. State police also investigated a total 620 traffic crashes statewide, with 141 of them involving injuries.

In addition, state police cited 1,143 safety belt violations and 338 child safety seat violations during the holiday weekend. For the remainder of this week, Virginia State Police will be continuing its enforcement and educational outreach participation in the national Click-It-or-Ticket traffic safety initiative. The Click-It-or-Ticket program is aimed at increasing seat belt use in Virginia and continues through June 2, 2013.

“Experiencing a decrease in traffic deaths over this past holiday weekend is definitely encouraging,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “But a greater challenge lies ahead – keeping traffic crashes and deaths at a minimum as we head into the summer travel months. To save lives on our interstates, motorists must commit to buckling up, complying with speed limits, avoiding distractions and never driving impaired.”

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

NHTSA Joins Safe Kids, Nevada Safety Advocates to Highlight Dangers of Child Heatstroke in Hot Cars

Following four tragic deaths in one week, auto safety agency urges caregivers to think ‘Where's baby? Look before you lock.'

LAS VEGAS – With the start of summer quickly approaching, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has joined Safe Kids Worldwide and health professionals at Sunrise Children's Hospital in Nevada to discuss ways to prevent child deaths and injuries in hot cars. Earlier this month, four young children died of heatstroke in a seven-day stretch across the country, including two tragedies that occurred in school parking lots. NHTSA and other safety advocates urge parents and caregivers to think, "Where's baby? Look before you lock.", the primary message in NHTSA's heatstroke public education campaign.

"Each year, especially during the summer months, we hear reports of the tragic loss of young children as a result of heatstroke in hot vehicles," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We hope everyone who cares about the safety of our children – parents, grandparents, caregivers and others – will follow the simple, and important, safeguards that can save lives and avoid unnecessary heartache."

"Child heatstroke in a hot car can happen to any caregiver from any walk of life, even to the most loving and conscientious parents," said NHTSA Administrator Strickland. "We want to reduce the risk of these preventable deaths and help caregivers avoid accidentally harming a child, as well as address some of the misconceptions about the causes of child heatstroke in cars."

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Motorcycle Safety Awareness

Ride to Work Day: June 17

"Share the Road" Campaign Materials


Heatstroke Prevention: Get Involved

Summer 2013

Campaign Materials

4th of July Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

July 4

Campaign Materials

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over National Crackdown

Aug 16 - Sept 2

Campaign Materials

Upcoming Trainings & Campaigns

DUID Training for Investigators and Prosecutors
June 13 • Harrisonburg
June 28 • Henrico
Aug 13 • Roanoke
Sept 13 • Fredericksburg

National Tire Safety Week
June 2-8

VCU/TSTC Motorcycle Crash Investigation Training
June 3-7

Child Passenger Safety Technician Course
June 4-7
Newport News

VACLEA 2013 Annual Conference
June 4-7
Virginia Beach

VCU/TSTC Advanced Crash Investgation Training
June 17-21 • Newport News
July 15-19 • Weyers Cave
July 29 - Aug 2 • Bristol

National Ride to Work Day (Motorcycle)
June 17

National Fourth of July Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign
July 4

Primary Message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Secondary Message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

DMV FY2013 Grant Quarterly Reports Due
July 31

Back to School Safety Month
Aug 1-31

Primary Message: Walk, Bike, and Ride to School Safely!

National Stop on Red Week
Aug 4-10

Pedestrian/Bicycle Crash Investigation
Aug 5-9

Impaired Driving National Enforcement Crackdown
Aug 16 - Sept 2

Advanced DUI Training for Prosecutors & Law Enforcement
Aug 21-23

VACP Annual Conference
Aug 25-28


Tougher Laws on DWI, Distracted Driving Take Effect July 1

RICHMOND – New laws taking effect July 1, 2013 take a tougher stance on drinking and driving and driving while distracted.

Under current law, a conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is not considered a felony unless it is the third DWI conviction within 10 years. Effective July 1, any DWI conviction will be a felony if a person has a prior conviction of any of the following:

  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol
  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol boating
  • DWI maiming
  • Boating while intoxicated maiming
  • DWI third offense or subsequent

A DWI felony conviction mandates a minimum fine of $1,000 and one year in prison.

Also as of July 1, texting while driving is a primary offense with increased penalties. Texting or reading text messages while driving is illegal for all drivers, no matter their age. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense and can only be charged when the offender is stopped for another, separate offense.

A texting while driving conviction will carry a $125 fine for the first offense and $250 for the second or subsequent offenses. The current penalties are $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second or subsequent offense. The new law increases the punishment of any person convicted of reckless driving to include a $250 mandatory fine if the person was texting at the time of a reckless driving offense.

In 2012, more than 20 percent (28,112) of all crashes in Virginia (123,588) were attributed to driver distractions. More than 28,000 crashes resulted in 174 fatalities and 16,709 injuries. Nearly 1,700 crashes involved drivers using cell phone or texting while operating a motor vehicle.

"People are dying and being seriously injured because of drunk and distracted driving. Those offenses put not only the driver and their family in danger, but this risky behavior also jeopardizes everyone else traveling on the roadways," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative.

Here are some distracted driving facts for 2012 in Virginia:

  • Most distracted driving crashes involved drivers 21 to 35 years old
  • Most distracted driver crashes occurred at the end of the week on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, between noon and 6 p.m.
  • The top three driver distractions last year were, in order:
    • drivers not having their eyes on the road
    • fatigue
    • cell phone use


DMV Shares Instructions for Looking Up Special License Plates

To: Law Enforcement Personnel in the Commonwealth of Virginia

From: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Law Enforcement Division

Subject: Instructions for Looking Up Special License Plates

Recently, there have been some questions about how to make a VCIN inquiry on special license plates. Although you generally enter license plate numbers as the numbers appear on the license plate of passenger cars, not all license plates can be queried this way. Special License Plates (e.g. elected officials, service members, and first responders) may have the same license plate number as a regular passenger vehicle but will need to be queried in a different manner.

For example, the Clerk of the House of Delegates and the Speaker of the House of Delegates may BOTH have a license plate number of “1.” When you encounter these special license plates, you must follow different procedures to look up the license plate number. Attached you will find a guide with instructions for looking up these special license plates.

If you have questions about these instructions, please contact Resident Agent in Charge Jim Squares at 804-249-5143.

Joseph A. Hill
Assistant Commissioner-Enforcement and Compliance
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Office: (804) 367-1579



YOVASO Launches New Website

Youth of Virginia Speak Out (About Traffic Safety) is excited to introduce their brand new website! They've been working hard to make navigating and using YOVASO online a much easier and efficient process. Almost everything can be done on their website now including contacting them, filling out forms for campaigns, registering for retreats, registering your club as a member school, requesting a training, requesting information about various topics, signing up for their newsletter mailing list, etc.

You will also find:

  • Information about the background of YOVASO and their current mission
  • Information for member schools including registrations, trainings, campaigns, retreats and a full list of member schools
  • Up-to-date information on all campaigns and retreats
  • Resources for schools and requests for loaner items
  • Links and information about partnering organizations
  • Staff information and contact information
  • Upcoming and current events


Please feel free to look around and let them know what you think!


New Study a Reminder of Importance of Motorcycle Helmet Use

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 30, 2013) —Today’s study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is a reminder of something we have long known – the repeal of state motorcycle helmet laws is a bad and dangerous idea. HLDI’s study shows that since Michigan’s repeal of its universal helmet law in 2012, the medical costs of injured motorcyclists increased substantially, while motorcycle injury crashes also increased. This is consistent with many previous studies showing that repealing a law requiring all riders to wear helmets inevitably and quickly increases motorcyclist fatalities.

Michigan is one of six states that have repealed their universal helmet law since 1997. Only 19 states currently have universal helmet laws, and no state has enacted a law since 2004. This is despite the fact the helmet use has been cited by researchers as the single most effective countermeasure in reducing motorcyclist injuries and deaths.

The new data from HLDI adds to the evidence that motorcycle safety is going in the wrong direction. Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported that helmet use declined six percentage points in 2012, to 60 percent.

Last month, GHSA projected that motorcyclist deaths increased nine percent in 2012. This would mark the 14th of the last 15 years in which motorcyclist deaths increased. During a period of remarkable progress in other aspects of highway safety, the increases in motorcycle fatalities have been an aberration.

While the news about motorcyclist safety continues to be disheartening, there is no mystery about what should be done to keep riders safe. As noted in GHSA’s recent report, states should address six issues:

  • Increase helmet use
  • Work to reduce alcohol impairment among motorcyclists
  • Work to address speeding among motorcyclists
  • Increase operator training opportunities
  • Ensure operators are properly licensed
  • Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists

Photo Red Light Enforcement Plays Pivotal Role in Arlington County's Traffic Safety Program

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Photo Red Light Program has proven to be an important component of the Police Department’s award-winning traffic and pedestrian safety campaign.

Arlington County implemented a Photo Red Light Safety Camera Program in 2010 to increase traffic safety in Arlington County by reducing red-light running violations, collisions and injuries. Currently the Photo Red Light program is utilized at four intersections.

Following a year of photo red light enforcement, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found a 50 percent decrease in violations occurring 1.5 seconds after the light turned red at all of Arlington’s photo red light locations.  Additionally, over a 2.5 year period, 96.5 percent of drivers cited for running a photo red light in Arlington County did not violate a second photo red light. This shows an extremely low recidivism rate (3.5%), which indicates that the Photo Red Light Program has had a significant impact in Arlington County.

The Arlington County Police Department is pleased with the success of the Photo Red Light Program and is continuously seeking to improve Arlington’s traffic and pedestrian safety.


Glen Allen High School wins ‘Arrive Alive’ contest

Glen Allen High School students received a day with the UNITE International Texting Simulator on May 21, after a group of students from the school won the 2013 “Arrive Alive PSA Contest,” sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), UNITE International, and the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA).

Glen Allen’s public service announcement focused on the dangers of texting while driving and posed the question, “Is it worth it?”

More than 40,000 people from across the nation voted on the PSAs, with Glen Allen commanding a large percentage of the vote. Appomattox High School, Bluestone High School, Mountain View High School, Stafford High School and Stuarts Draft High School also participated in the competition. 

Continue reading...

VIDEO: Colonial Heights Police utilize trashcans to slow down speeders

Some residential streets in Colonial Heights are only 25 miles per hour, but some drivers don’t heed the speed limit; a dangerous situation according to  some who live in the area.

To curb the problem, Colonial Heights Police have teamed up with the program “Keep Kids Alive Drive 25” and Container First Services, to use their trash cans to try to slow down drivers.

The premise is simple; large decals are used to catch the eye of drivers so they slow down. It’s a program that has worked in other state. The non-profit group was founded in 1998.

“Prior to putting the decals on their trash cans, the average speeds were a little over 29 miles per hour on the 25 mile per hour streets,” said Tom Everson, with the program Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25. “Afterwards, the speeds came down to an average of 24 and a half miles per hour.”

Colonial Heights Police said they have four streets they will target with the 2500 decals that have been provided by Geico.


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