By Brian A. Ursino, Director of Law Enforcement, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Arlington, Virginia
ounded in 1933, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) is a nonprofit organization developing model programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement, and highway safety. The AAMVA represents the state and provincial officials in the United States and Canada who administer and enforce motor vehicle laws. The AAMVA’s programs encourage uniformity and reciprocity among the states and provinces.
Under its current structure, the AAMVA has 10 discipline areas that fall under the auspices of three standing committees: the Driver Standing Committee; the Enforcement Standing Committee; and the Vehicle Standing Committee. Every standing committee has at least one member representing the IACP State and Provincial Police Directorate.
The mission statement of the Enforcement Standing Committee was recently revised. The mission statement on the AAMVA website speaks for itself: “To inspire collaboration between law enforcement and motor vehicle administrators to improve highway and public safety.”
Each standing committee also is charged with addressing contemporary issues within its area of oversight. The most common method for accomplishing this is through topic-specific working groups. Some working groups are funded by the AAMVA, and others are funded by federal partners with a business interest in the best practice being developed. Each time a working group is created to address an issue that may affect, or is of concern to law enforcement, the AAMVA recruits IACP members to be working group members. This recruitment usually occurs through the IACP Highway Safety Committee. All travel expenses to attend working group meetings are paid by the AAMVA.
Two AAMVA working groups have recently culminated their work, resulting in deliverables that are now available to law enforcement at no cost.
18-Wheels & BUSted is a 12-minute training DVD that was funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The purpose of this video is to encourage law enforcement to more proactively engage in commercial vehicle and driver enforcement to reduce large truck and bus crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The video also provides officer safety tips so officers can stop trucks and buses as safely as possible. A copy of this DVD was mailed to every law enforcement executive on the IACP’s and the National Sheriffs’ Association’s mailing lists in September 2011. The video can be viewed by visiting the AAMVA YouTube page at www.youtube.com/user/AAMVACommunications (accessed December 21, 2011). DVDs can be obtained by emailing the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Foreign National Driver Credential Resource Card was developed with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This resource card, accompanied by a training PowerPoint presentation, provides officers a resource to help them determine if credentials they are presented at roadside by a foreign national driver actually give the individual driving privileges while in the United States. Watch a presentation and learn more about the resource card on the AAMVA YouTube page.
There are two additional working groups currently operating under the auspices of the Enforcement Standing Committee that will be producing deliverables by September 30, 2012. These are the License Plate Reader (LPR) Working Group and the Suspended and Revoked Working Group.
The LPR Working Group, funded by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is developing recommendations for a national standard in license plate design to make LPRs more efficient. Currently, business rules vary between states, resulting in the potential for missed “hits” when LPRs check plates against various databases. This is an obvious concern for officer safety, public safety, and homeland security reasons. The problem also results in lost revenue for many tolling authorities.
The Suspended and Revoked Working Group, funded by NHTSA, is developing a recommendation that states discontinue suspending driving privileges for nondriver behavior–related reasons and provide alternative suggestions for achieving the social compliance sought without using the driving privilege as leverage when not directly related to highway safety. If adopted, this will result in a dramatic reduction of suspended drivers on roadways and a commensurate reduction on the resource drain these drivers create on motor vehicle administrations, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, and the courts.
These are just a few examples of how the AAMVA is partnering with the IACP to address issues of mutual concern to motor vehicle and law enforcement administrators. For more information about the AAMVA, visit www.aamva.org or contact Brian A. Ursino, director of law enforcement, at email@example.com. ■
Please cite as:
By Brian A. Ursino, "The IACP Partners with Motor Vehicle Administrators to Improve Officer and Highway Safety," Highway Safety Initiatives The Police Chief 79 (February 2012): 66.