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Highway Safety Roundup

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 21,24-28,29
Earl M. Sweeney
Charles E. Higginbotham
Date Published
July 2002
7 pages
This article reviews three law enforcement efforts undertaken by law enforcement to secure highway safety and the ability of law enforcement to overcome public and political obstacles and opposition.
The safety of the Nation’s highways is of paramount concern to law enforcement. Efforts undertaken to secure the Nation’s highways are many. This article discusses three law enforcement efforts and the obstacles and challenges, from both the public and political officials, they face and strive to overcome. First, the volume of traffic has been increasing at a significant rate in North America, along with the public’s contempt for speed limits and traffic signs and signals. The instituting of photo radar and photo red light enforcement cameras has shown great potential in solving traffic problems and violations, but not without opposition from civil rights advocates and citizens. Ten strategies are recommended to overcome these oppositions; maximize police control over operations; create a fair system; display photo technology selectively; analyze pre- and post-deployment; promote the program before deployment; limit the use and retention of photos; solicit input from experienced officers; don’t alter signal timing; verify accurate operation of equipment; and listen to the community. Second, in the past police officials frowned at DMVs focus on revenue production and customer convenience. Today, these practices are changing with more input being received from police such as making driver’s licenses more secure and designing a driver’s license and non-driver’s identification card system. Lastly, law enforcement has been struggling with the issue of profiling. States have condemned profiling at traffic stops. However, with the events of September 11, 2001, opponents of profiling have suddenly felt differently. Traffic stops are an important responsibility of an officer. None the less, officers need to be trained not to stop or detain a person because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation unless they fit a specific suspect description.