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SPECIAL ADJUDICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT (SAFE) - TECHNICAL SUMMARY - ANNUAL REPORT, 1ST, FEBRUARY 1976

NCJ Number
67718
Journal
HIGHWAY SAFETY LITERATURE, HLS N 79-07 Dated: (JULY 1979) Pages: A-1-A-13
Author(s)
D G MOREHEAD; M WOOD
Date Published
1979
Length
13 pages
Annotation
THIS TECHNICAL SUMMARY PROVIDES AN OVERVIEW OF OPERATION PROCEDURES, STEP-BY-STEP HISTORY, AND IMPACT OF SEATTLE'S TRAFFIC SAFETY PROGRAM, SPECIAL ADJUDICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT (SAFE).
Abstract
THE SAFE PROGRAM WAS DEVELOPED IN 1973 TO ALLEVIATE THE INCREASING NUMBER OF TRAFFIC CASES OVERLOADING THE CITY'S MUNICIPAL COURT. USING FUNDS FROM THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, THE PROJECT TRIES TO UNBURDEN THE REGULAR COURT BY TRANSFERRING LESS SERIOUS TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS TO A NEW DRIVER ADJUDICATION/IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM. BY IDENTIFYING AND TREATING PROBLEM DRIVERS, THE PROGRAM CAN DEMONSTRATE A REDUCTION IN TRAFFIC VIOLATOR RECIDIVISM, AS A RESULT OF THE SWIFT ADJUDICATION AND SUBSEQUENT PROMPT REFERRAL TO DRIVER IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES ARE TO EVALUATE THE COST EFFECTIVENESS OF THE DRIVER ADJUDICATION/IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM AND TO DETERMINE THOSE DRIVER IMPROVEMENT ACTIVITIES WHICH ARE ENHANCED BY SPECIAL PROCEDURES, TECHNIQUES, AND SANCTION. PROGRAM IMPACTS SHOULD GENERATE LOCAL PUBLIC AWARENESS OF SAFE AND PROMOTE NATIONAL INTEREST IN DEVELOPING IMPROVED COURT METHODS. ABOVE ALL, THE PROGRAM AIMS TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF FATAL ACCIDENTS. WHILE MINOR TRAFFIC OFFENSES WERE DECRIMINALIZED, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, RECKLESS DRIVING, DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE, AND HIT AND RUN DRIVING STILL CARRY POSSIBLE JAIL TERMS. DURING SAFE'S FIRST 9 MONTHS OF OPERATION, 17,721 MINOR TRAFFIC CASES WERE PROCESSED, TAKING AN AVERAGE OF 46 MINUTES TO HANDLE EACH DEFENDANT. ABOUT 87 PERCENT OF THE CASES WERE JUDGED GUILTY WITH A GENERAL FINE OF $20, OF WHICH $10 WAS SUSPENDED. IMPROVEMENTS IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT WERE NOTED, ESPECIALLY IN REDUCING THE DOCKET BACKLOG. DEFENDANTS GENERALLY RECEIVED EQUAL TREATMENT FROM THE MAGISTRATES. THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH IMPROVING DRIVING BEHAVIOR. ONE VALUABLE SIDE EFFECT OF THE PROJECT HAS BEEN THE AVAILABILITY OF DRIVER IMPROVEMENT ANALYSTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES AT FORMAL COURT. THE PROJECT DEMONSTRATES THAT COURTS AND REGULATORY AGENCIES DO NOT HAVE TO BE AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER OVER THE CONTROL OF HIGH-RISK DRIVERS. CHARTS AND GRAPHS AND AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY TO HIGHWAY SAFETY LITERATURE ARE PROVIDED. INDEXES ARE APPENDED.