By Richard J. Ashton, Chief of Police (Retired), Frederick, Maryland; and Grant/Technical Management Manager, IACP
here is no single solution to prevent traffic crashes, the carnage they produce, and the lives that are forever changed because of them. However, law enforcement professionals across the United States constantly are crafting action plans to mitigate what they have determined to be the primary causes of collisions in their respective jurisdictions.
The 2013 highway safety issue of the Police Chief presents several approaches to reducing various types of collisions and the deaths and serious injuries they needlessly cause. Hopefully, these articles will result in readers’ adopting or modifying existing programs or will motivate them to develop entirely different tactics warranted by the existing issues within their areas of responsibility. Regardless of the program selected, the bottom line is that law enforcement leaders are attempting to alleviate crashes and the accompanying carnage for the benefit of all highway users whom they have sworn to serve professionally.
Colonel John Born, Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), puts human faces on stark fatality statistics in “Safety Is Important when It Is Personal: Taking a Leadership Role in Highway Safety.” He touts the value of the Federal Highway Administration’s traffic incident management program and its multi-disciplinary training of first responders; and he supports National Transportation Safety Board Safety Recommendation H-12-37 relative to the value of collecting place of last drink (POLD) information in connection with each arrest or crash investigation involving an alcohol-impaired driver and has expanded POLD to the drug-impaired driver, promising to double the number of drug recognition experts (DREs) in Ohio by the end of next year. Colonel Born explains Ohio’s implementation of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and provides a positive update of its time efficiency value program initiated in 2011.
The OSHP is transitioning to Dodge Chargers and recognized early on the need to train its troopers to safely drive a vehicle that is significantly different than the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors that are being replaced. Colonel Born explains in “Safety First” the OSHP’s comprehensive efforts, including its partnering with a private driver training facility, to obtain high-quality instruction for all of his troopers.
Colonel Born outlines in “Officer Safety: Every Shift, Every Day” the coordinated efforts of the State and Provincial Police Directorate’s (S&P’s) Traffic/Officer Safety Subcommittee to better ensure that officers safely complete each tour of duty. He describes the subcommittee’s first foray into this realm: deploying tire deflation devices.
Captain Daniel W. Gerard, of the Cincinnati, Ohio, Police Department, in “Cincinnati HAZARD: A Place-Based Traffic Enforcement and Violent Crime Strategy,” expands upon the success Cincinnati achieved through the implementation of its Crash Analysis Reduction Strategy (CARS), which yielded in 2010 a 47 percent reduction in fatal crashes over 2005. The new effort focused on both traffic crashes and criminal acts in four neighborhoods where street gangs operate in one of Cincinnati’s five patrol districts and combined the tenets of CARS and those of Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) into High Activity Zones and Resource Deployment (HAZARD). During the first calendar quarter of 2013, significant reductions in violent crimes, property crimes, and traffic crashes occurred in three of the four neighborhoods, as well as in the entire patrol district. HAZARD demonstrates how a place-based strategy can simultaneously affect in a positive way the incidence of crimes and collisions.
In “Efforts Continue to Address Drugged Driving, But Is It Enough?,” Oregon State Police Captain (Retired) Chuck Hayes—an IACP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program Regional Operations Coordinator—makes a strong case supporting the increased incidence of drug-impaired driving and the dangers that it presents, identifies loopholes—and suggests remedies—in drug-impaired driving statutes, describes DRE training and promotes the value of DREs, and proposes increasing officers’ proficiency by adopting the two-day Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training program.
Just as no single factor causes all highway fatalities, no silver bullet is available to stop the carnage. Effective solutions to prevent the deaths and serious injuries that traffic collisions cause exist, and it is hoped that those presented in this issue will motivate law enforcement leaders to explore strategies that appear to be reducing carnage. ♦
Please cite as:
Richard J. Ashton, "[Preventing Carnage," The Police Chief 80 (July 2013): 23.