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Webinar Focuses on Reducing Traffic Fatalities

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2019
2 pages
This TECHBeat article describes the content of a webinar held in August 2019 in which two NIJ LEADS scholars explained the origins of their projects, their impact to date, and their plans for the future in reducing traffic fatalities in urban and rural areas.
The webinar, which was co-sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Justice Clearinghouse, featured Captain Ken Clary of the Iowa State Patrol and Sergeant James Williams of Metro Nashville (Tennessee). Each of these officers explained the origins of their LEADS projects to reduce traffic fatalities, their impacts to date, and their plans for the future. Iowa's program sought to reduce traffic fatalities by changing driver behavior, such as not wearing seat belts, driving while impaired, looking at in-car devices, and speeding. Since 70 percent of all accidents in Iowa occurred on rural roads within a couple of miles of town limits, the project had 16 state troopers make several "touches" daily in identified hot spots for traffic accidents. Troopers went into bars and talked to patrons about not drinking and driving, and visited with farmers having their morning coffee at the local convenience store, talking about wearing their seat belts. There are plans to study the impact of the program. The Metro Nashville Police Department's program to reduce traffic fatalities focused on cars following one another too closely as a cause of the majority of accidents. It focused resources on a hot spot, making frequent and highly visible stops during a 2-hour period, 2 days a week, just before and during the evening rush hour. The focus was on driving too closely, distracted driving, speeding, and improper lane changes. Results of the initial project and subsequent modifications resulted in a 22-percent reduction in crashes at the hot spot.

Date Published: September 1, 2019