3.1 Law Enforcement Roles
Enforcement plays three overall roles in improving the safety of older drivers. Law enforcement officers:
- Enforce traffic laws. In particular, active publicized enforcement of seat belt use laws can help increase belt use for older drivers and occupants. See the Seat Belts and Child Restraints chapter, Section 2.1, for discussion.
- Identify drivers with potential driving impairments and refer them to licensing agencies. Traffic stops and crash investigations provide officers excellent opportunities to observe and evaluate driving behavior. See the Older Drivers chapter, Section 2.2, for discussion.
- Provide information and education. Law enforcement officers have formed many partnerships with public and private organizations to give talks, teach safe driving courses, work with media on news stories and PSAs, and other communications and outreach initiatives. Stutts (2005) summarizes several examples. NHTSA (2003) lists law enforcement programs that were active in 2003. They include training for officers, training for older drivers, and community relations programs that promote safety.
Use: The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) has developed a training course for law enforcement instructors covering a range of topics related to older people and driving, (www.iadlest.org/training/older-driver-law-enforcement-training). This course aims to train instructors on how to provide LEOs the information they need to effectively interact with and evaluate older drivers. NHTSA also provides a series of video and web-based resources to help LEOs determine signs of older driver driving impairments. See Law Enforcement: Cite and Refer Medically Impaired Drivers (updated in 2017) at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aShDPSbJls&feature=youtu.be and Cues for Law Enforcement: https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/olddrive/lawcues.html.
Effectiveness: LEOs provide more than one-third of all referrals to licensing agencies for driver screening and assessment (Stutts, 2005; see also the Older Drivers chapter, Section 2.2).
Costs: Costs vary depending on the nature and scope of activities.
Time to implement: Implementation time varies depending on the nature and scope of activities.