Youth Impaired Driving Manual for Sheriffs DOT HS - 809214
PART TWO: PROGRAM STRATEGIES table of contentshomeNHTSA
Enforcement

Saturation Patrol

Sobriety Checkpoints

Party Patrols

Vendor Stings

Hotel Stings

Point of Purchase

Third Party Sales

Controlled Dispersal

Golf Carts and DUI Glasses

Graduation/Prom Parties

Underage Drinking Task Force

Geographical Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems

Enforcement is the most crucial element in combating impaired driving and underage drinking. It includes a number of strategies, some more subtle than others, but all are intended to address a specific problem, using those intervention programs which are best for that situation.

The goals of all law enforcement operations are simple: to enable law enforcement to accurately assess the nature and degree of a community’s problem, and to deter violators through direct enforcement.
Direct Enforcement Strategies

High profile, directed enforcement strategies targeting areas frequented by underage drinkers, i.e. parks, fields, beaches, neighborhoods, not necessarily near bars, include:

• Saturation Patrols - These patrols are designed to “saturate” an area with officers in order to send a message to the community. This high visibility effect is a very good method when coupled with a strong media campaign.

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• Sobriety Checkpoints - When coupled with a media campaign, they are highly visible and have proven to be an effective method in removing impaired drivers from the highways. Frequently, they are done in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies within a community. Strict guidelines should be followed in conducting checkpoints.

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• Party Patrols - Officers tend to learn of parties from many sources. The detection and enforcement of these youth alcohol parties is challenging. Agencies using traditional police response techniques need to refine their approach.

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A “sting” operation is one of the most direct responses to the problem of underage alcohol purchase. It actively supports other youth impaired driving enforcement strategies. Some of the most effective programs are:
• Vendor Stings - These stings send a message of “zero tolerance” to the community and sales establishments. It targets all retail outlets and uses a trained underage person as a buyer.

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• Hotel Stings - This is an often overlooked but growing problem involving alcohol being delivered to hotels and motels and then being sold to minors. The goal is to deter retail establishments from delivering alcohol to underage persons in hotels and motels.

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There are many ways in which law enforcement agencies can work with alcohol retailers to prevent sales of alcohol to underage persons. Law enforcement agencies may conduct training sessions to remind retailers and their employees about their legal and social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol as well as providing updates on issues such as recognizing improper identification or third-party purchase attempts. Agencies might also send retailers periodic letters and notices designed to maintain high awareness of the issue.

Additional direct enforcement strategies which support zero tolerance policies toward underage purchase and consumption are:

• Point of Purchase - This operation involves the use of undercover officers, working with stores or restaurants, to take appropriate action against underage patrons attempting to purchase alcohol with false, altered, or no IDs. These are viewed as positive and non-punitive by owners. Also called “cops in shops," “badges in business," etc.

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• Third-Party Sales - This is very effective in deterring underage youths from approaching adults and asking the adult to purchase alcohol for them. This strategy involves the use of an undercover officer posing as a customer of a retail establishment. The officer can then observe the youth as well as the adult that makes a purchase and take enforcement action. NHTSA has published excellent resources for law enforcement on underage drinking enforcement. (see Appendix B)

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• Controlled Dispersal - Responding to party reports or any complaint of possible underage drinking parties should be referred to the alcohol enforcement unit or specialist. The initial response should include careful and cautious planning before action is taken and is essential to safety and effectiveness. Rather than responding directly to the alleged party house, surveillance should be initiated. Monitoring of traffic and appropriate enforcement of alcohol violations for individuals leaving the party is encouraged to maintain the programs integrity. Controlled dispersal starts with a briefing to review current policies and development of a tactical plan. Teams or officers are to be deployed to provide an inner and outer perimeter. Once entry or contact has been made, the attendees should be gathered into a secured area so that processing can begin. Processing should occur in three stages: the administration of a preliminary breath test and photograph of the subject, processing of citations if issued, and arranging safe transportation from the party.

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Educational Strategies

Many law enforcement administrators have come to realize that it is less demanding on their resources — both personnel and equipment — to develop an educational approach toward the problem of youth impaired driving. This is not done in disregard to enforcement. Effective enforcement will always be a necessary deterrent in any comprehensive program. However, the primary purpose of this document is to give sheriffs and local law enforcement officials in rural areas a “Youth Impaired Driving Resource Guide” that presents a comprehensive approach to education and enforcement.
Golf Carts and DUI Glasses

Fatal Vision Simulator Glasses are a specially designed and manufactured pair of goggles that simulate the visual impairment caused by drugs or alcohol. Viewing through the goggles is rather clear, but confusing to the mind. Normal movements are affected which produces one of the effects of intoxication. Both the wearer and those observing are convinced that such impairment makes activities with known risks, such as driving vehicles, very dangerous.

The National Sheriffs’ Association selected the States of Texas and Washington, because of their high number of youth/alcohol-related fatalities, to participate in a pilot-test of a new youth-impaired driving education program. Nine county sheriffs’ offices agreed to participate in a six-month study. The program, incorporated the use of golf carts, DUI glasses, high school student-volunteers, and traffic cones, simulates the effects of alcohol under controlled conditions. High school student volunteers were video-taped maneuvering the coned course without the DUI glasses, then re-taped while maneuvering the same course with the DUI glasses. Both tapes were then shown to an assembly of junior and senior students. Use of golf carts and DUI glasses afforded an opportunity to provide a hands-on example for driving age students at the high school level.

Local high schools have been receptive to this approach. The program may be used in conjunction with an existing “drivers training” class or in whatever manner your office and the school deem appropriate. Tests have shown that using the idea in conjunction with “Government” classes gives a dual benefit. First, the obvious class participation helps educate about the basic problem of underage drinking and driving. Second, it allows the class to see the Sheriff’s Office involved in outreach beyond the normal perceived scope of duties.

To implement this program in your agency all you need are golf carts, DUI glasses and traffic cones. A driving course can be of any shape or design you desire. It is best to simulate the size of a travel lane as it compares to the width of the golf cart. A course that is too difficult makes it become unrealistic, and one too easy may foster a false sense of security. Makeshift stop lights or signs can be added or any other appropriate bit of stimulus that approximates what would be encountered on a roadway. The student (with a deputy as passenger) is allowed to drive the course. Subsequently the student puts on the glasses and is again asked to navigate the course. Test results indicate a high level of appeal to the students as it is a first-hand positive experience instead of a listening message.

There is some argument that the glasses do not create the exact conditions of an intoxicated driver, but they do create visual distortions and equilibrium problems similar to those caused by intoxication. Further they seem to get the message across about how difficult it is to operate a motor vehicle with one or more of these impairments.

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Graduation/Prom Parties

In recent years a popular and effective trend has been toward school sanctioned and sponsored alternatives to the more “traditional” after prom and graduation parties. Local law enforcement can play a positive part in these functions. Many offer a substantial “door prize” which is awarded at the end of the function and requires the attendees to have “stayed the course” to be eligible. Parent/teacher organizations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and community organizations are often involved and would almost certainly welcome support from the law enforcement community.

In most jurisdictions the prom and graduation season can run as long as eight weeks. The public and private sector can use this window of opportunity to step up their DUI and alcohol-abuse public awareness campaigns. Local media can play a pivotal role in both the public awareness and enforcement campaigns, which should be implemented simultaneously for maximum reinforcement during this special time in the school year.

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Underage Drinking Task Force

Task forces cover a wide range of options including education, information, and enforcement. These can consist of any organizations you choose whose input, funding or expertise may lend assistance to your agency in combating the youthful drinking and driving problem. Some choices or considerations are: your state Alcohol Beverage Control Agency, MADD, SADD, local judiciary, district or commonwealth attorney, business organizations, school officials, juvenile probation or court officers, local universities, other local law enforcement agencies, civic organizations, and local and state legislators.

The concept of an open forum/dialogue with the groups listed above has immense potential for not only identifying existing problems but in creating partnerships to develop innovative ways to address them. Whether the goal is intervention, education or enforcement, the years of experience and insight that can be put to use by tapping these resources is phenomenal.

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Geographical Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems

Geographical Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems may be a technology worth exploring. By assigning a geographical locator to youth-impaired crashes and DUI arrests, violations can be mapped and will give an indication of where increased enforcement activities should be conducted. Some colleges and universities are experimenting with or have developed programs which may lend themselves to assisting you in your problem assessment. Often approaching them with your interest will result in a cooperative agreement which can become a “real world” experiment for their students.

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