banner - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (with photo collage)


letter Training is essential in supporting the special requirements of traffic law enforcement and safety. Operational personnel should be trained in the technical and societal issues relating to contemporary traffic safety issues, to be prepared to effectively perform their duties. Traffic enforcement training is available through a variety of resources including law enforcement agencies, the State POST (Police, or Peace, Officer Standards and Training) agency, Federal agencies, or a commercial training business.

Training accomplishes important and necessary goals. Proper training should:

  • prepare officers to act decisively and correctly;

  • increase compliance with agency enforcement goals;

  • assist in meeting priorities;

  • improve compliance with established policies;

  • result in greater productivity and effectiveness;

  • foster cooperation and unity of purpose;

  • help offset liability actions; and

  • motivate and enhance officer professionalism.

State, county, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies should:

  • periodically assess enforcement activities to determine training needs;

  • provide traffic enforcement knowledge and skills to all newly hired law enforcement officers including the use of prosecutors;

  • provide traffic enforcement in-service training to officers;

  • conduct training to implement specialized traffic enforcement skills, techniques, or programs;

  • train instructors to increase agency capabilities and to ensure continuity of specialized enforcement skills and techniques; and

  • integrate specialized training, to the extent possible, to traffic enforcement officers in such areas as commercial motor vehicle inspection, crash investigation and reconstruction, and speed-measuring devices.

As impaired driving has been identified as a significant traffic safety threat, at all jurisdictional levels throughout the Nation, adequate training for impaired driving detection and prosecution is imperative. States should support training for all traffic law enforcement officers in the NHTSA/IACP Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) course. Where possible, drug-impaired-driving programs, such as the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training, should be incorporated into traffic enforcement programs.

It is recommended that the State SFST and DRE coordinators con-duct an inventory of officers who will be participating in any traffic enforcement activity to determine their training level. All training and certifications should be up-to-date with current information. This would include:

  • speed measurement certification(s);

  • SFST training;

  • DRE training;

  • breath-testing instrument training and certification; and

  • crash reconstruction.