Impaired driving continues to be one of North America 's greatest and most persistent threats to public safety. Impaired driving leads cancer and all other causes of death for those persons ages 3 to 33 years old, regardless of race, gender, or any other factor, and our society is poised to support the law enforcement community's need to take a lead role to end this epidemic.

There are many public and non-profit agencies and entities focused on the elimination of impaired driving, but there is often a lack of sustained coordination in their efforts.

The IDSC prepared an IACP Resolution (Appendix A) to encourage a renewed effort from every law enforcement agency to work vigorously toward the elimination of impaired driving. However, this Resolution is only the first step in a chain of events that is intended to create a new momentum to make elimination of impaired driving a reality.

The IDSC developed this Guidebook as the next step in creating the desired momentum. The target audience includes state, provincial, county, local, and Tribal police executives and their agencies. Whether your agency is already strategically focused on eliminating impaired driving or you are contemplating making it a high priority, this Guidebook is intended to serve as a resource to assist you in that effort.

Additionally, as a result of President Bush's August 2005 signing of the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU) federal highway reauthorization bill, every state must submit a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) outlining how all levels and areas of government will work together to make each state's roadways safer.

Law enforcement must take advantage of this opportunity to leverage additional resources through each state's SHSP to augment current resources allocated to eliminate impaired driving.

As indicated by the title, the Subcommittee's research has found that success lies in three key areas: Leadership, Criminal Justice Collaboration, and Communication. The cover photos reflect each of those three areas.


Strong leadership is the first key to success in renewing our efforts to eliminate impaired driving. Although this Guidebook is meant for law enforcement executives, leadership is needed throughout all levels and agencies of government. This section of the Guidebook provides recommendations on actionable items that police executives can focus on within their agencies, as well as external actions that often serve as a catalyst to galvanize our partners and perpetuate success.

Leadership is also needed to ensure that traffic law enforcement is viewed among both the law enforcement community and the public as “real police work.” Traffic law enforcement has already proven to be an effective means of crime prevention by interdicting criminal behavior and terrorism before crimes are committed. The theories contained in “Fixing Broken Windows,” which proved highly successful in reducing crimes and improving quality of life, are easily transferable to traffic law enforcement.

Leadership is also needed throughout law enforcement organizations to ensure that scant resources are appropriately focused and that an agency's field activities support desired outcomes. Accountability Driven Leadership models such as TrafficStat (New York Police Department) and Strategic Advancement Forums (Washington State Patrol) are models already being emulated throughout law enforcement and other government agencies in the United States to promote leadership, accountability, and efficiency.

In addition to ensuring aggressive impaired driving enforcement is occurring in your agency, executive leadership should:

  • Develop strong support among government leaders;

  • Sponsor or participate in meaningful awards and recognition programs to provide positive reinforcement for impaired driving enforcement; and

  • Publicly support advancements in automotive and enforcement technologies for sensing impairment.

Criminal Justice Collaboration

Partnering and collaborating with other agencies and entities in order to combine resources can serve as a “force multiplier” and can achieve results that no single entity could accomplish alone.

In order to eliminate impaired driving, each jurisdiction should identify the steps necessary to achieve success, develop an actionable plan to achieve that success, implement the plan, regularly examine the results, and repeat the process.

This section of the Guidebook provides examples of potential partnerships and collaborations that are intra-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and system-wide, and it provides several proven methods for building relationships. In support of this effort, Appendix B provides a list of some of the best Internet resources available; and Appendix C lists potential partners from national organizations and associations, as well as federal, state, and local partners.


Effective internal and external communication is the third key to success in renewing our effort to eliminate impaired driving. Law enforcement leaders must take affirmative measures to “sell” impaired driving enforcement to both their officers and to the public.

A proactive public relations strategy is essential to reaching diverse audiences for effective impaired driving enforcement. This section of the Guidebook also explains the role of the Governor's Highway Safety Office and provides information on how law enforcement executives can effectively engage the media.

There are many strategies that can and should be deployed in the fight against impaired driving, most notably sustained high visibility enforcement. Research has shown that strong and effective laws—combined with highly visible enforcement—reduces impaired driving and other crimes as well.