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:
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."
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 https://militarycivilianworkshop.eventbrite.com
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.
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.
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. ...
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 703-647-7387.
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.