Is Combined High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) Effective?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a single evaluation of a combined enforcement program – More Cops. More Stops. – in Oklahoma and Tennessee. The evaluation of More Cops. More Stops found some positive outcomes associated with the overall program, but found no evidence for enhancing the effects of the Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over statewide campaigns. This indicates that more research is necessary in order to establish, through multiple high quality research studies, that HVE is effective.
If HVE were deemed evidence-based, this would have numerous positive resource impacts on Highway Safety Offices (HSO) and their law enforcement partners. The HSOs in conjunction with their state patrols and local law enforcement agencies conduct multiple high visibility enforcement (HVE) campaigns to eliminate fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving and speeding. These annual multiple campaigns are labor intensive for law enforcement agencies causing officer fatigue and reduced participation. In addition, the HSOs dedicate funding to develop and place media for each enforcement effort. The messaging often targets the same population and many of the same media venues are used.
Crash data demonstrates that drivers are regularly engaging in multiple behaviors that are the cause of motor vehicle crashes that result in serious injury or death. For example, a crash report will indicate that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt, driving too fast for conditions, and was also under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Combining enforcement efforts, such as speed, impaired driving and occupant protection would allow law enforcement the ability to prioritize multiple traffic safety issues under a single campaign.
IV. RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
The research project could draw from lessons learned from the evaluation of More Cops. More Stops to structure an alternate evaluation methodology to determine the benefits and disadvantages of combined enforcement. Research and research products could be created that would assist states to develop and implement evidence-based combined HVE campaigns (enforcement and media) nationwide.
V. URGENCY AND POTENTIAL BENEFITS
If HVE were deemed evidence-based, this would have numerous positive resource impacts on Highway Safety Offices (HSO) and their law enforcement partners. Combined HVE would reduce the number of campaigns law enforcement would participate in throughout the year and reduce officer fatigue. More officers would be willing to participate and this would provide for extra patrol cars on the roadways to improve enforcement visibility. Addressing multiple traffic safety behaviors in a single message would improve public awareness about how these behaviors, when combined, potentiate the risk of being in a crash and exposing drivers and occupants to serious injuries and death. Other benefits would be reduced budgets for overtime enforcement and media projects. Money saved could be put toward other activities to improve traffic safety.