Policies and Priorities: Law Enforcement

Excerpted from GHSA's 2014-2015 Policies and Priorities.

I. Traffic Safety and Law Enforcement

The proper enforcement of traffic safety laws is crucial for the safety and well-being of the public. Conducting the appropriate activities in a professional manner can lead to reductions in crime, as well as enhancing the safety of the roadways.

I.1 Professional Traffic Stops

GHSA believes that traffic enforcement should be performed in an unbiased and professional fashion. No law enforcement agency should condone race, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic class as a reason for stopping a motorist.

I.2 Traffic Enforcement Effects on Crime

Numerous studies and individual state enforcement efforts have definitively shown that traffic enforcement activities can result in an increase in the number of criminal subjects apprehended and reductions in crime. “Looking Beyond the Ticket” is a demonstrated, cost-effective way to address a community’s overall crime problem. GHSA encourages state and local jurisdictions to incorporate traffic enforcement as part of their overall effort to combat crime, save lives and reduce injuries. Further, GHSA encourages State Highway Safety Offices to partner with state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in a joint analysis of criminal justice and crash data. These agencies should be encouraged to deploy their resources in those locations that will have the biggest impact on reducing motor vehicle crashes, deaths, injuries and crime. NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Justice should develop guidelines and other technical assistance to help states undertake these types of joint data analysis and resource allocation efforts.

I.3 High Visibility Enforcement

High visibility enforcement is a proven, effective countermeasure and a cornerstone of state occupant protection, impaired driving and speed enforcement efforts. States are encouraged to 19 highly publicize their enforcement activities, particularly those relating to occupant protection and impaired driving, in order to increase the effectiveness of those efforts.