News and updates from Smart, Safe & Sober about upcoming mobilizations, training opportunities, law enforcement agency initiatives, and more!
SS&S Newsletter Feb 2015

May 2015 Click It or Ticket
Mobilization Results

Almost 500 local law enforcement officers and state police troopers from across Virginia participated in the 2015 May Click It or Ticket Mobilization by emphasizing proper seat belt and child safety seat use. Law enforcement officers worked more than 16,000 hours of overtime —  4,000 more hours than the May 2014 mobilization — and worked more than 388,000 regular hours, which was a whopping 100,000 more hours than last year’s May Click It!

Officers issued...

  • 1,987 safety belt citations;
  • 400 child safety seat citations;
  • 14,034 speeding tickets; 
  • 1,679 reckless driving citations;
  • 671 DUI arrests; and,
  • 8 underage drinking citations.
In addition...
  • 27 stolen vehicles were recovered;
  • 72 fugitives were apprehended;
  • 801 drug arrests were made; and,
  • 25 weapons were seized.
For the entire mobilization, 40,379 arrests and/or citations were issued in a two-week period, from May 18 through 31.

The next Click It or Ticket Enforcement Mobilization will be Friday, Nov. 20 through Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, which is the week leading up to the national Click It effort on Thanksgiving Day. Virginia’s law enforcement officers will be asked again to emphasize occupant protection during this time period.

2015 Governor's Transportation Safety Awards

On Tuesday, June 16, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian J. Moran saluted the winners of the 2015 Governor’s Transportation Safety Awards during a ceremony at the Capitol.

“These awards recognize the hard work, cooperation, and innovation that are hallmarks of Virginia’s safety organizations, law enforcement, and individuals looking to make a difference,” Secretary Moran said. “But the real reward can be measured in lives saved. Traffic fatalities have been on the decline for years in Virginia, thanks to all of you.”

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

  • Lifetime Achievement: Lloyd “Bud” Vye, Henrico
  • Employer Safety: Cintas Corporation, Chester
  • General Traffic Safety: Lt. Paul D. Watts and Sgt. Jason S. Haga, Virginia State Police
  • Law Enforcement: Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Richmond
  • Media: Peter Bacqué, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, posthumous recognition
  • Motor Carrier Safety: Bill Murphy, Valley Energy, Purcellville
  • Motorcycle Safety: Mike Mitchell, Richmond
  • Occupant Protection: Eileen Gerling, Norfolk
  • Pedestrian/ Bicycle Safety: RIDE Solutions Bicycle Safety Campaign, Roanoke
  • Public Transportation: Chesapeake Transportation Safety Commission, Chesapeake
  • Youth Traffic Safety: Kathryn Koscinski, South Riding 
  • Commissioner’s Special Achievement Award: Mayor’s Youth Academy Program, 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 DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “What these folks are doing is saving lives and, for that, we are very grateful.”

Read more about the award recipients' contributions and programs


New traffic laws take effect July 1

Law changes include safety provisions for bicyclists, portal vehicles

RICHMOND – Several new traffic laws take effect July 1 in Virginia. The 2015 General Assembly amended state code to increase safety provisions for traffic management vehicles, bicyclists, postal vehicles, and refuse-collection vehicles, among other initiatives.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Vehicles that assist with the management of roadside and traffic incidents or perform traffic management services along highways may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating amber warning lights, qualifying these vehicles for Virginia’s “Move Over” law. The “Move Over” law requires drivers to proceed with caution and, if reasonable, change lanes when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways.
  • Drivers passing a stationary mail vehicle displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating amber light must proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for road conditions.
  • Bicycles, mopeds and other non-motorized vehicles are now included in the list of vehicles for which a motorist can be cited for following too closely.
  • Motorists may cross double yellow lines to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard or foot scooter, if such movement can be made safely.

In addition, a change in the law now allows a Virginia resident convicted in federal court of an offense substantially similar to Virginia's DUI laws to petition the Virginia general district court in the jurisdiction in which he resides for restricted driving privileges. Previously, only residents convicted of DUI in Virginia courts or other states’ courts could petition.

A restricted driver’s license allows a DUI offender to drive for limited purposes, such as going to work or church, while his license is suspended. In Virginia, a conviction of first-offense DUI is punishable by a mandatory fine and a one-year license revocation. The installation of an ignition interlock device is a condition of receiving a restricted driver’s license. The interlock condition has also now been extended to Virginia residents who have been convicted of a substantially similar DUI offense under the laws of another state or the United States. The DUI-related changes went into effect immediately after passage earlier this year.

DOWNLOAD the full 2015 DMV Legislative Bulletin (PDF)


Virginia's new Transportation Network Company law goes into effect on July 1

Several things to look for to make sure a TNC partner is operating in compliance with the new law

RICHMOND - Virginia law, effective July 1, 2015, regulates transportation network companies, more commonly called TNCs.

These companies – Uber and Lyft – use a smart phone app to match passengers with nearby drivers through GPS technology. TNC drivers, called partners, operate their personal vehicles. Ride arrangement and payment is all done through the app. Street hails are prohibited.

Although the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles oversees TNC regulations, DMV special agents AND local and state law enforcement share the duty of enforcing the new law.

Per the Code of Virginia, Title 46.2, Chapter 20, any person who knowingly and willfully violates any TNC regulation is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.


4th of July Impaired Driving Prevention & Enforcement Campaign

July 4

Campaign Materials


National Impaired Driving Crackdown

August 19 - September 7

Campaign Materials


Child Passenger Safety Week

September 13-19

National Seat Check Saturday:
September 19

Campaign Materials


National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 19-25
National Campaign Materials

Halloween Impaired Driving Prevention & Enforcement Campaign

October 31

Campaign Materials


Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket Mini-Mobilization

November 20-26

Campaign Materials

irginia-Specific Forms & Resources



Pre-Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

November 27 - December 15

Campaign Materials


Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

December 16 - January 2

Campaign Materials

Upcoming Trainings, Campaigns & Important Dates

National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training
July 22 • Louisa

Back to School Safety Month

National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training
August 15 • King & Queen County

Advanced Crash Investigation & Reconstruction
Aug 17-28 • Dublin

GHSA Annual Meeting
Aug 29 - Sept 2 • Nashville

VACP Annual Conference
Aug 30 - Sept 2 • Williamsburg

DUID Training Program
Sept 17 • Henrico

Virginia Distracted Driving Summit
Sept 17-18 • Virginia Beach

UCI World Road Cycling Championships
Sept 19-27 • Richmond Metro



The War on Distracted Driving: How Fairfax Co. Police Department Has Prepared for Battle

Michael F. Grinnan, Captain, Commander, Traffic Division, Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department

While the average person likely thinks of texting or talking on a cellphone when the phrase “distracted driving” is mentioned, there are many different types of distractions that may negatively impact a driver’s concentration. Scanning radio stations, adjusting the vehicle’s control knobs, reading, conversing with a passenger, or simply focusing on thoughts other than driving are all examples of distractions.

According to the most recent figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.1 Although overall traffic fatalities dropped in the following year (2013), there were still 3,154 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.2

Multitasking—The Great Myth

The first step in addressing the issue was to convince motorists that distracted driving impacts their ability to operate a motor vehicle. “Telling people isn’t enough,” says master police officer Joseph Moore, the department’s lead distracted driving instructor. “They have to see firsthand what impact distractions have on their ability to drive safely. Studies reveal that the human brain simply isn’t capable of multitasking. Each individual task one attempts to perform simultaneously with other tasks results in divided attention.”6

Moore is right—many drivers think they can multitask. However, a 2009 study by NHTSA revealed that 80 percent of all car crashes involve driver distraction within three seconds of the crash. According to the study, the primary distractions for drivers include cellphone use (texting and calling), reaching for things within the vehicle, looking at things outside the vehicle, reading, and applying makeup.7

Curbing the Habit Before it Starts

It is generally thought that young drivers are especially prone to distracted driving, and 2012 figures released by the NHTSA appear to support that assumption, revealing that “10 percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.”10

Upon realizing this fact, members of the Traffic Division recognized that training this age group would be easier than training adults, as several members of the demographic had not yet begun to drive and, thus, had not developed poor driving habits. Most young drivers would also be easier to reach since many of them were still in high school.

This realization prompted members of the Traffic Division to develop The Youthful Driver Program, a course for newly licensed drivers and those preparing to receive a learner’s permit. This course, conducted with the assistance of the staff at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy’s Driver Training Facility, focuses on vehicle dynamics and crash avoidance. It stresses the importance of driving while free of any and all distractions and the need for drivers to focus solely on their surroundings. ...


September 17-18, 2015 • Virginia Beach, VA  

Drive Alive Richmond Teen Driving Study

In recent years, many surveys have been conducted of teenage drivers in order to obtain a better understanding of their distracted driving behaviors and to develop strategies for addressing those behaviors.

However, most surveys have been done at a national level. This survey focused on teen drivers living in a specific community – the metropolitan area of Richmond, Virginia.

In this study, we conducted an online survey in March 2015 of high school students from within the Richmond community. A total of 238 teens participated in the study. However, 15 teens were excluded from our analysis of the survey results because they reported that they had not yet started driving.

Sara Richter, M.S., a Senior Statistician at Park Nicollet Institute, analyzed the survey data and made the following important findings:

  • Even though 94% of the teens said they knew texting while driving is dangerous, and 93% knew it was banned in Virginia, 58% still engaged in this driving behavior. This marked a higher percentage than indicated in other studies, which may be attributed to the smaller survey sample.

  • Among those teens who reported that they text and drive, a significant percentage (40%) do so in higher risk driving conditions. Those teens tend to believe they are better multi-taskers, unimpaired by their texting and need to respond to a text message right away.

  • Teens whose parents discuss texting while driving are less likely to text and drive than teens whose parents do not discuss this issue. Among teens whose parents have discussed the topic, 52 percent text and drive, compared to 64 percent who text and drive who have not had this discussion.

These findings indicate that a main method of addressing the dangers of distracted driving is to direct strategies towards parents. The parents of teen drivers should be strongly encouraged to talk with their children about distracted driving behaviors, and they should be provided with resources that can help them to engage in this important discussion.



NHTSA event showcases alcohol-detection vehicle technology

Alcohol-impaired driving crashes kill nearly 10,000 people annually; this alcohol-detection vehicle technology could potentially save thousands of lives each year

WASHINGTON – On June 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined with members of Congress, safety advocates and industry representatives at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters to highlight advances in the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program, a research partnership between NHTSA and an industry consortium to develop technology to prevent alcohol-impaired drivers from operating their vehicles while under the influence. The event featured the unveiling of a test vehicle equipped with mock-up DADSS technology that researchers will use to examine driver interactions with the system.

“This is a perfect example of why we at DOT are bullish on technology,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology of DADSS brings enormous potential to save even more lives.” ...

“There is still a great deal of work to do, but support from Congress and industry has helped us achieve key research and development milestones,” NHTSA Administrator Rosekind said. “DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option available to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths.” ...

In addition to a testing vehicle, the event included displays of the two technology prototypes under development – one that detects alcohol levels by touch, another by sensing the driver’s breath – to show progress in maturing them for automotive use. The project’s objective is to complete the necessary research within the next 5 years that would support the introduction of technologies into the vehicle fleet.

Read more & watch a video animation...

Ashland Police Receive Free Bicycle Lights for Safety Initiative

Thanks to a gracious donation from Olde Town Bicycles in Ashland, the Ashland Police Department is providing a limited number of free bicycle lights to increase the visibility and safety of people riding bikes at night.

Beginning this month, night shift police officers will be able to provide a free bike headlight, taillight and batteries to cyclists they observe riding after dark without proper illumination. Currently, the Department has 16 sets of head and taillights that will be distributed only by officers during patrol duties.

“We're very grateful to Olde Town Bicycles for their generous donation of bike lights to help us increase the safety of our cyclists as well as our motorists at night,” said Chief Doug Goodman.

Virginia law requires bicycles to have a white front light and red rear reflector (or red light when on a road with a 35 mile per hour or higher speed limit) while operating at night.


Traffic fatalities on VA’s highways since
Jan. 1, 2015

(as of July 1):


(Compared to 324 at this time last year)

Highway Fatalities in Virginia Currently Up from 2014

Compared to this time last year, there have been SIXTEEN MORE fatalities on Virginia's roadways in 2015.

Be it the lower seat belt usage rate, an increase in distracted driving, or lower fuel prices leading to an increase in vehicle miles traveled... there are any number of factors that could be contributing to this uptick. Nevertheless, this is not a trend we want to see continue!  Great strides have been made to bring this number down over the last 7 years, but if we rest on our laurels, it will creep back up.

As we're only halfway through 2015, there is still time to turn this around! Keep up your education and enforcement efforts — they do make a difference!!

State Safety Belt Usage Rate (2014):


2013 Rate: 79.7%

Influencing the Seatbelt Rate: Talking About Differences

At the June 23 meeting of DMV's Occupant Protection Committee, Ann Edwards, Doctoral Candidate at Old Dominion University, presented about the various factors that influence seat belt usage among individuals. 

Passing belt use laws and pushing education and enforcement campaigns did a lot to increase usage rates from 58% in 1994 to a current national average of 87% today; however, we've seen rates hold fairly steady over the last 10 years. To push usage up further, we need to look at factors beyond simply driver vs. passenger, age, and gender to come up with new campaigns that encourage behavioral change.

A confluence of factors contribute to whether or not an individual regularly buckles up:

  • their geographic location;
  • the type of road they are driving;
  • the kind of vehicle they drive; and,
  • how they interact in their community.

For more information, view the PowerPoint presentation (PDF).

Copyright © 2015 Virginia's Smart, Safe & Sober Partnership (c/o Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police), All rights reserved.
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