News and updates from Smart, Safe & Sober about upcoming mobilizations, training opportunities, law enforcement agency initiatives, and more!
SS&S Newsletter June 2013

Click It or Ticket 2013

2012 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge Awards Presented

James City Co. PD recognized with Commonwealth Award for best overall traffic safety program in 2012

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge awards for the best traffic safety programs in the state. Celebrating its twenty-fourth year in Virginia, the Law Enforcement Challenge program promotes professionalism in traffic safety enforcement and encourages agencies to share best practices and programs with each other. The awards are based on entries prepared by the participating agencies that highlight their traffic safety education and enforcement activities in the past calendar year. Judges award points to the agencies in the six areas that comprise a comprehensive traffic safety program: an agency’s policies and guidelines, training of officers, incentives and recognition, public information and education, enforcement, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the agency’s efforts.

The Virginia Challenge is held in cooperation with the National Law Enforcement Challenge Awards, which are presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This year, thirty-eight Virginia agencies entered the state and national competitions. Thirty-six received state awards and sixteen will receive national awards. National Challenge award winners have been announced by the IACP on their web site at National awards will be presented in October at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

Virginia agencies were presented with their state Challenge first, second and third place awards in each category at the luncheon in August, as well as special awards for outstanding enforcement and education efforts in the areas of occupant protection, impaired driving, speed awareness, child passenger safety, underage alcohol awareness and many more.

Additionally, the VACP announced the most outstanding traffic safety program in Virginia in 2012 regardless of agency size or type — the “Commonwealth Award” — and the 2012 Virginia Traffic Safety Officer of the Year Award, presented to an officer who has gone above and beyond to promote highway safety in his community. The Commonwealth Award recipient for 2012 is the James City County Division of Police and the 2012 Traffic Safety Officer of the Year is PFC Micheal D. Mittiga of the Fairfax County Police Department.

Click here for the FULL LIST of winners  |  Winners: Click here for your photos

IACP Makes More Changes to Law Enforcement Challenge Awards Program for 2013 and Beyond

Effective immediately, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has made major changes to the National Law Enforcement Challenge traffic safety awards program for 2013 (with entries submitted in 2014). These changes will also affect the Virginia program and the VACP is working out how the state program will have to adjust.

The National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) has focused on three major traffic safety priorities: occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding. In order to better serve these priorities and the goals of reducing injuries, saving lives, and detecting and deterring crime, the NLEC application has been re-worked. As law enforcement must continually adapt to better serve its communities, so must the NLEC adapt to better serve its goals. The NLEC has added a new traffic priority — the state/local issue — in addition to new categories, special awards, and goals. By participating in the NLEC, law enforcement agencies are actively serving their communities by making them a safer place to live.

The new revised NLEC application allows agencies to highlight a traffic safety issue that they are facing in its jurisdiction and how it is addressing that issue. The law enforcement agency can choose to address any number of items which are related to traffic safety. A few suggested topics are young drivers, distracted driving, or pedestrian crashes. This is to ensure that law enforcement agencies are not only addressing national issues, but the issues that are prevalent in the community they serve.

The categories and special awards have also been modified to better quantify and qualify agencies' dedication to traffic safety programs. Categories have been reorganized to ensure that a consistent distribution of applicants is maintained and evaluated against one another fairly. Changes to the special awards have also been made. All agencies' applications already have sections for speeding, occupant protection, and impaired driving. Agencies will not have to indicate that they are applying for these special awards based off of section submission. Instead, the judges will determine which agencies will receive these awards. Other revisions have been made to the remaining special award categories.

The Step by Step guide to completing an NLEC application has been updated to walk agencies through the new application format and guidelines for putting your entry together.  There are more defined restrictions to how information is submitted now.

The 2013 deadline will be May 1, 2014.

As always, the IACP will highlight the winning agencies' ideas will be shared with other participants in publications such as Traffic Safety Innovations and Traffic Safety Dispatch.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Ben Gorban at the IACP at (703) 836-6767 ext. 387 or at


Halloween Drunk Driving Prevention & Enforcement Campaign

October 2013

Campaign Materials

Thanksgiving Holiday Click It or Ticket Campaign
Nov 28, 2013

Campaign Materials

Pre-Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

Nov/Dec, 2013

Campaign Materials

Holiday Season Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign

Dec 2013-Jan 2014

Campaign Materials

DRIVE SMART® Virginia Announces Leadership Awards to Virginia Lawmakers

Awards were presented at the First Annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit

RICHMOND — DRIVE SMART Virginia announces that the Virginia Coalition for Distraction Free Driving has awarded 11 Virginia legislators for their commitment to increasing safety on Virginia's roadways by working to strengthen laws against distracted driving. The awards were presented during the First Annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit in Richmond, where more than 300 attendees took advantage of panels about distracted driving research, corporate liability as well as efforts to reach teen drivers with a safety message.

"We wanted to recognize legislators who not only realize that distracted driving is dangerous, but are willing to work to strengthen laws against it, said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. "Education, strong laws and strong enforcement are the tools we need in Virginia to make a dent in this epidemic and we are grateful to these lawmakers for working in this manner."

Delegate Richard Anderson received an award for his "dedication and commitment to stronger texting and driving laws in Virginia." Delegate Anderson's HB1907 which made texting and driving a primary offense, was signed into law by Governor McDonnell in April, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Continue reading about the Awards presented...

Other News Coverage About the Summit:

CSI: DUI – Virginia Governor Examines the Science behind Virginia’s DUI Detection

Commonwealth Touts Five-Consecutive Years of Declining DUI Deaths

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell joined Virginia State Police, local law enforcement and highway safety leaders today in a demonstration of exactly what goes into identifying and apprehending drunk drivers in the Commonwealth as part of the launch of Virginia’s 2013 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign. Officers put volunteers through the paces of such enforcement elements as a standard field sobriety test, a preliminary breath test and more to showcase the techniques responsible for helping reduce Virginia’s alcohol-related fatality numbers year after year.

2012 marked the fifth-consecutive year of declining drunk driving deaths in Virginia, which are down over 35-percent since 2008 (35.31%, 354 > 229). Last year, 229 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, a more than six-percent (6.53%) decrease from 2011. However despite the progress achieved, drunk driving still accounted for nearly 30-percent (29.54%) of Virginia’s total traffic fatalities in 2012. This year is already trending in a similar direction, with Virginia’s same number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities (144) recorded as of August 2013 as was recorded as August 2012.

“While we are very encouraged by the progress made in recent years through our law enforcement efforts, by no means have we declared victory in the battle against drunk driving,” stated Governor McDonnell. “Until the day comes when Virginians are no longer threatened by the dangers of this senseless crime, we must remain diligent in our efforts to prevent such crimes through education and enforcement.”

Linda Jackson, Director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, was also on hand to explain how accurate forensic alcohol testing and the expertise of scientists from her agency assist law enforcement in the investigation of suspected drunk driving. “With very few exceptions, the numbers tell the story, and yet, too many drivers tragically endanger themselves and others by driving while impaired by alcohol,” said Ms. Jackson. “Forensic testing can help prove a case of impaired driving, but only the driver can prevent it from occurring in the first place."

Continue reading...

Registration Open for 2013 Military/Civilian Transportation Safety Workshop

Workshop to be held Nov. 19-20 at Fort Eustis (Newport News)

This workshop provides a unique opportunity for roadway safety advocates from the Commonwealth of Virginia to hear experts and leaders discuss the latest issues in transportation safety. Workshops on Safety Programs, Law Enforcement, Engineering, Research, and legislation are just a few of the various sessions offered to examine new developments and opportunities in the areas of highway, rail, air and water safety.

The workshop is limited to 200 participants. Early registration is recommended. The registration fee for attendees is $55 before Nov. 5; $65 on/after Nov. 5.

Register at

NHTSA Releases 2014 Traffic Safety Campaign Calendar

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently posted their 2014 Communications Calendar, which details when all of the traffic safety education and enforcement campaigns will run in 2014. These dates will be added to the Smart, Safe & Sober Google Calendar shortly, but the PDF calendar from NHTSA is also helpful for planning your activities in the next year.

Additionally, NHTSA has also made available the list of Safety Weeks and various annual conferences related to highway safety for 2014. These too will be added to the SS&S Online Calendar, but you can view the PDF list here.

Henrico Police Set to Host DDACTS Implementation Workshop December 3-5

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) is a law enforcement operational model supported by a partnership among the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and two agencies of the Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice.

DDACTS integrates location-based crime and traffic data to establish effective and efficient methods for deploying law enforcement and other resources. Using geomapping to identify areas that have high incidences of crime and crashes, DDACTS uses traffic enforcement strategies that play a dual role in fighting crime and reducing crashes and traffic violations. Drawing on the deterrent of highly visible traffic enforcement and the knowledge that crime often involves the use of motor vehicles, the goal of DDACTS is to reduce the incidence of crime, crashes, and traffic violations across the country.

The Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) Workshop is designed to show officers how to use data collection efforts to manage and deploy strategic resources that will decrease traffic crashes and crime.

Roanoke County police now keep records of traffic warnings

Officers have recorded 1,346 warnings since April 3, when the practice officially began.

A warning isn’t just a warning anymore for Roanoke County drivers.

While a motorist escaping a traffic stop without a ticket may still breathe a sigh of relief, the violation doesn’t simply vanish in Roanoke County. Since April, Roanoke County police have been issuing and documenting written warnings.

Chief Howard Hall said the recorded warnings add a layer of knowledge for officers and give them a better chance of enforcing laws effectively. While Hall said he has worked in departments where warnings were documented, the practice is not common among Roanoke-area agencies. Roanoke police do not keep track of warnings, Capt. Monti Lee said. A Virginia State Police spokesman said the statewide agency does not record warnings, either.

“They have been issuing warnings essentially forever,” Hall said. “But they were all verbal. No information was collected.”

Now, Hall said, drivers get a written copy — which he called a visual reminder — and officers file the warning for future use, such as a second traffic stop involving that driver. ...

Continue reading...

Virginia State Police & Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Partner to Promote "Move Over" Law

Safety and Law’s Importance Reasons for Joint Publicity Effort

RICHMOND, Va. – Nationwide Insurance and the Virginia State Police have joined together to promote Virginia’s Move Over law that protects the Commonwealth’s public safety personnel and all those who drive tow trucks and road maintenance vehicles. /p>

Since 2003, 138 on-duty law enforcement officers have been struck and killed on the nation’s highways. This is the fourth leading cause of death for a law enforcement officer. *

“Nationwide is pleased to support Virginia State Police, the Protect Those Who Protect Youcampaign and stress the importance of Virginia’s Move Over Law,” said Orysia Meyers, Mid-Atlantic regional vice president, Nationwide Insurance. “Our agents and associates across the state will distribute these materials as part of this valuable information campaign.”

Continue reading...

IACP, FMCSA Develop Video Series on CMVs & CDLs

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has developed a seven-part video series about commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). The videos can be viewed HERE.

The videos provide law enforcement officers with a basic understanding of CDLs, including how to examine a CDL, security features, and ways to identify a fraudulent CDL. The videos also explain how to conduct traffic enforcement on trucks and buses that commit traffic violations such as speeding, following too closely, and failing to maintain proper lane control. These highly visible, driver-related crash factors account for 90 percent of fatal crashes involving trucks and buses, but they can be easily reduced by removing unsafe vehicles and unsafe drivers from our roadways. Additionally, the videos provide officers with safety considerations to take into account when interacting with a CMV and the drivers of these vehicles.

For questions regarding these videos or the CDL project, please contact Ben Gorban, project coordinator, at or by phone at 703-647-7387.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety expands testing facilities at Vehicle Research Center

New vehicle testing facilities at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety should be completed by late next year, officials recently confirmed.

Announced in January, the first phase of construction began in March.

The project will add a larger outdoor test track; a domed vehicle testing area; a three-story, 18,000-square-foot office building with conference center space; and smaller support buildings. Groundbreaking on the office building is slated for later this year.

Overall, the expansion project at the Greene County site is estimated to cost about $30 million.

“For months and months, you see these on paper and you really don’t get an appreciation of how big these are until they start forming them up and building,” said Raul Arbelaez, the vehicle research center’s vice president, while touring the large concrete piers and steel beams that will support the dome.

Although the dome won’t be entirely enclosed, “we’ll be able to do testing at any time of the year,” Arbelaez said.

Continue reading...

Roanoke City Police bust school zone speeders

Drivers' top excuse for speeding through school zones "I forgot"

No matter how many times drivers see flashing school lights, there are always those who don't slow down.  Overland Road in Southwest Roanoke tends to be the one of the main spots where drivers are getting busted.

At 7 o'clock in the morning it only took two Roanoke City policeman 45 minutes to pull over their daily number of school zone speeders.  They cite anywhere from 10 to 15 during that time period.  While some of those citations are for expired registration among other offenses, a lot of them are for speeding.

During the first week of school this year city police wrote 55 tickets.  The second and third weeks, the numbers dropped drastically.  Four citations during the week of August 26th.  Three citations during the week of September 3rd.

Police say the sharp decline is because people realize they're watching.

"Three to four weeks into the school year everybody tends to slow down and it seems to peak out somewhere around Christmas or so," says Officer Ray Shanks with the Roanoke City Police Department.

At this point, police say their mornings are fairly slow except for those few drivers not paying attention. But city police have no plans to cut back on patrols and want drivers to know, they're watching.

Continue reading / Watch video...

Leesburg Police Kick-Off 'Safe Streets Initiative'

The Leesburg Police Department kicked off a new traffic safety program at the start of the new 2013-2014 school year. The "Safe Streets Initiative" encompasses both an educational and an enforcement campaign with a goal of making the streets in Leesburg safer for motorists and pedestrians.

The educational phase involves a singular, focused message that Leesburg is a safe driving community and that a central focus of the entire town government is the safe and efficient flow of traffic throughout the community. On August 13, the Town Council passed a resolution calling on all motorists and pedestrians to join the town in making safety a priority in our community. Throughout the year, press releases will be sent stressing various safety messages. In addition, message boards will be deployed in areas of high traffic volume to reaffirm the Town’s commitment to traffic and pedestrian safety and provide educational and driver safety tips.

The enforcement phase of the initiative kicked off during the week of September 3. Leesburg Police officers, with the assistance of the Virginia State Police, were out in force conducting a “Traffic Safety Blitz” with the goal of reducing the number of traffic crashes occurring both in and around schools as well as town-wide. High-visibility patrols placed specific emphasis on speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, stop light/sign violations, occupant protection, and pedestrian violations.

During the remainder of the year, the department will target “hotspot” areas based on statistical analysis with a goal of achieving a reduction in both personal injury and property damage crashes.

For more information, contact Lieutenant Jeff Dubé, PIO, at (703) 771-4538 or

REMINDER: Officer Belt Use Posters

In 2011, the VACP introduced a poster campaign aimed at getting officers to buckle up since, historically, more law enforcement officers are killed by traffic-related accidents (auto, motorcycle & bicycle crashes or being struck by a vehicle) than any other cause. But in spite of this fact, seat belt use among LEOs (on- & off-duty) is disappointingly low.

The VACP is aiming to increase officer belt usage with a simple message – "Wear this, Not this" – over an image of an officer wearing a seat belt against an image of a shrouded badge, the universal symbol marking the death of an officer in the line of duty. The VACP's hope is that this stark image will make an impression on officers and get them to think about the risks they're taking by not buckling up.

“Several agencies have already had CUSTOMIZED POSTERS created featuring their own officers, and the VACP is happy to accommodate this interest. If you'd like to have a poster made up for your agency featuring your own officers, please contact Erin Schrad at the VACP via email at  If you are simply interested in having some posters to display in your agency (regardless of agency represented in the poster), please also contact Erin Schrad for more information.

Copyright © 2013 Virginia's Smart, Safe & Sober Partnership (c/o Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police), All rights reserved.
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