NHTSA to Offer Free Traffic Safety Training

If you’ve been following the news lately, you have heard we have lost several officers to traffic crashes and from being struck, especially while deploying spike strips.  This class addresses the need for officers to watch their speed and use good judgement during our daily activities, a​​nd discusses strategies to reduce the threats faced while driving and conducting traffic enforcement.  

Th​e​ 4-hour ​morning session, TOPS – Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies​ (800 – 1200 hours)​, is designed for officers and supervisors to increase understanding of how law enforcement officers save lives and prevent injuries by enforcing traffic laws. The class will also discuss:

· The toll traffic crashes have on the community

· Occupant protection laws

· Crash dynamics

· Special risks to law enforcement

· Effective methods of issuing citations

· Effects of high visibility traffic enforcement on preventing and clearing other crimes

​The afternoon session is titled ​Officer Roadside Safety (1300 – 1700 h​ours​)​.​

More officers are killed as a result of automobile accidents, struck by vehicles and intentional vehicle assaults than any other method. Participants of this 4-hour course will review and discuss the prevalence of officer accidents, traffic related accidents and deaths in recent history. Various contributing factors will be discussed including fatigue, equipment, staffing and individual officer experience.

This program will include specific recommendations on how to prevent and survive roadside incidents, including vehicle positioning, traffic stop recommendations, lane closure and traffic direction recommendations.  

The ​ entire training will run from 8 a.m.​​ to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 18 and will be hosted by the Palmyra Police Department in the Sesquicentennial Building at 621 Johnston Avenue in Palmyra.

There is no charge for this training. Both classes are POST Certified. 8 Hours POST credit will be provided by the Missouri Safety Center at no cost to the participant. Class size is limited. Contact Assistant Chief Ronald Peer at 573-769-5540 or rpeer@palmyrapd.com for further information. Bring your POST Number.

And please share this information with any agency that might be interested.

Absent Traffic Jams, Drivers Are Getting More Reckless

​​Emptier streets may be encouraging some drivers to flaunt traffic safety laws, including speed limits. Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, state highway safety officials across the country are seeing a severe spike in speeding. Many states have reported alarming speed increases, with som​​e noting a significant surge in vehicles clocked at 100 mph or more.

Being a safe driver should always be a priority, but during the coronavirus pandemic, traffic safety experts at the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) say it is more important than ever. “While COVID-19 is clearly our national priority, our traffic safety laws cannot be ignored,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Law enforcement officials have the same mission as health care providers — to save lives. If you must drive, buckle up, follow the posted speed limit and look out for pedestrians and bicyclists. Emergency rooms in many areas of the country are at capacity, and the last thing they need is additional strain from traffic crash victims.”

During the past month, pedestrian and bicycle traffic are reported to have increased exponentially, while motor vehicle traffic is down. Adkins noted that GHSA is encouraged to see so many communities across the country making roadways more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists. To keep roads safe for everyone, traffic safety officials nationwide are pleading with motorists to slow down and respect traffic safety laws.

Here are examples of the reckless driver behaviors reported recently:

  • In Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah, police have clocked highway speeds of over 100 mph.
  • State police in Florida and Iowa are reporting drivers going 20 to 40 miles over the posted speed limit.
  • In New York City, despite far fewer vehicles on the road, the city’s automated speed cameras issued 24,765 speeding tickets citywide on March 27, or nearly double the 12,672 tickets issued daily a month earlier.
  • In Los Angeles, speeds are up by as much as 30% on some streets, prompting changes to traffic lights and pedestrian walk signals.
  • Some states are finding reduced crash rates but more serious crashes. In Massachusetts, the fatality rate for car crashes is rising, and in Nevada and Rhode Island, state officials note pedestrian fatalities are rising.
  • In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities have more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or to careless or negligent driving.

“During the past two months, Americans nationwide have shown that we are all willing to do the right thing to protect ourselves and each other,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, GHSA’s Senior Director of External Engagement and Special Projects. “We must maintain that same sense of urgency when it comes to the road. Drivers need to respect the law and look out for other road users, so that we can prevent the needless loss of life now and moving forward.”

A 2019 report on speeding by GHSA, “Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge,” highlights excessive vehicle speed as a persistent factor in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities, while a 2020 GHSA report on pedestrian fatalities, published in February, finds that pedestrians now account for 17% of all traffic-related fatalities.

Despite the fact that a significant percentage of all crashes are speeding-related, speeding is not given enough attention as a traffic safety issue and is deemed culturally acceptable by the motoring public. To combat this problem, GHSA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) have partnered to provide up to $200,000 in grant funding to a community to develop, implement and evaluate a speed management pilot program. The organizations are looking for a pilot program that can be scaled nationally and plan to announce the grant winner in May.

About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.