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New Emphasis on Driver Training Needed: A Call for Cultural Change

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: February 2016 Pages: 12-15
Date Published
February 2016
4 pages
This article develops and draws implications from the argument that with almost half of law enforcement officers' line-of-duty deaths coming in traffic accidents, there needs to be a cultural change throughout the country to make officer driving performance an ongoing, periodic testing requirement similar to that mandated for firearms skills.

In responding to this argument, the Federal Law Enforcement Technology Center (FLETC) offers a number of driver training programs. Some are required training for just over 95 Federal agencies that compose its partners. Other driver training programs of the FLETC are designed to meet the individual needs of specific State, local, and tribal agencies. Its Driver Instructor Training Programs, both basic and advanced, consist of 9 1/2 days. The goal of the driver instructor training program is to lower the number of officer-related vehicle crashes and incidents. FLETC has adopted the principles of the Below 100 Initiative, which includes principles that advocate wearing seatbelts, being aware of speed, and remembering that "complacency kills." One of the FLETC labs focuses on the danger of distracted driving. Students, while using lights and sirens, many be asked to recite the alphabet backwards, talk about their favorite football teams, or some other subject that will distract them from driving. Courses are built on studies of line-of-duty deaths while driving, so as to design exercises around what is causing crashes. Training also addresses basics, such as vehicle dynamics and being aware of all four corners of the vehicle when backing up and parallel parking.

Date Published: February 1, 2016