Traffic Resource Webinar Now ONLINE

A 20-minute webinar by Joan Cochet, National Center for State Courts Library Manager and NHTSA project staff member, on how to access NCSC traffic resources through the NCSC website, the Library’s online catalog, and the digital eCollection is now available. Originally broadcast on April 16, 2014, this event was a discussion regarding NCSC traffic resources and how to discover services available through the NCSC Library for their state court partners and constituents. The NCSC Library is the world’s leading collection of resources related to the field of judicial administration. This collection contains over 50,000 titles in various formats (print, electronic, video, CD-ROM, DVD, etc.) covering a wide range of traffic issues including impaired driving, procedural fairness, DUI courts, traffic courts, photo speed enforcement, license suspensions, non-criminal traffic violations, traffic bench warrants, sentencing, recidivism, alcohol interlock programs, re-engineering DUI case processing, juvenile DUIs, collection of traffic fines, and rehabilitative programs.

NEW STUDY - Ignition Interlock: An Investigation Into Rural AZ. Judges' Perceptions

This study sought to answer several questions regarding 2007 Arizona legislation requiring ignition interlock for all offenders convicted of Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI), including first time DUI offenders. At the time the law was passed, Arizona was only one of two States (New Mexico being the other) to require ignition interlock for first time offenders. Of particular focus in the study were the implications of the legislation for rural areas. The project staff obtained information from judges in rural Arizona jurisdictions that routinely hear DUI cases to obtain their impressions of the legislation. The researchers also investigated charge reduction behavior for convicted DUI offenders, before and after implementation of the legislation in both urban and rural jurisdictions. They found a historically increasing trend for charge reductions that was driven by charge reductions for Extreme and Felony DUIs. The trend for less serious offenders was flat in both urban and rural jurisdictions. The researchers concluded that judges have not modified their charge reduction behavior toward less serious offenders despite the logistical burdens that the legislation places on DUI offenders, especially those in rural jurisdictions.

South Dakota Arguing Over McNeeley

John Hult of the Sioux Falls based, Argus Leader newspaper reports that the South Dakota Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the state's implied consent law is constitutional. The law came into question last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision of McNeely vs. Missouri. Since then, most law enforcement agencies in South Dakota have reportedly begun asking drivers for their consent prior to drawing blood and seeking warrants if that consent is refused. Attorney General Marty Jackley has argued that the McNeely ruling did not deal directly with implied consent as it is applied in South Dakota and that therefor, refusal is not an option South Dakota law.  As you will read, some Judges in the state have been taking issue with this assertion and are challenging AG Jackley's interpretation.

Axelberg v. Commissioner of Public Safety

On May 21, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on Axelberg v. Commissioner of Public Safety. In order to seek shelter and call the police, the petitioner drove away from her husband who was physically attacking her. She was later arrested for DUI and submitted to urine test, which revealed an alcohol concentration twice the lawful limit.  As a result, the Commissioner of Public Safety subsequently revoked petitioner’s license. The issue before the Supreme Court of Minnesota was whether a person who has had his or her driver's license revoked under Minnesota's implied consent law may raise the common law affirmative defense of necessity at a license revocation hearing. The court determined that the defense is not available because the list of statutorily authorized defenses for license revocation hearings does not include the defense of necessity. Therefore, the court affirmed the decision of the district court denying the petition. The dissenting justices argued both that the decision created bad public policy and that the language of Minnesota’s statute on administrative review for license suspension allowed the judges to consider the necessity defense.

NCSC Traffic Resource Center

The Traffic Resource Center is a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to establish a resource for judges, court administrators, court clerks, and other court staff on issues related to traffic adjudication. It is an integrated clearinghouse of information as well as a training and technical assistance resource to improve court decision-making and processing of traffic cases involving impaired driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and commercial driving. The purpose of the Traffic Resource Center website is to provide a useful, ready reference for judges new to the bench or recently assigned to traffic cases, who may need quick access to accurate and timely information until they can receive more formal, structured education.

Funding Electronic Citations Technologies

In a recent Issue Brief produced by the Traffic Resource Center for Judges, Gavel to Gavel blogger William Raftery examines how many states are paying for new electronic citation technologies.  Raftery looks at the specific legislative strategies that many states are using to address the issue of electronic citations, fees, and disbursements of fees.

Upcoming Events

  • October 6-9, 2014:   Traffic Issues in the 21st Century, The National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada. Scholarships are available for interested applicants. Please email Irene Hart at for more information. 
  • ICM course calendar

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