Texas Legislature Considers "Second Chance" Law

The Texas Legislature is currently debating a bill that would allow people convicted of one low-level offense, including a DWI with a BAC of under 0.14, to request the state to seal their criminal records from public view and allow them not to disclose their record on applications for employment after a certain period of time. The bill, the latest version of which you can find here, accelerates the timeframe in which one-time offenders are allowed to request their records to be sealed if they are willing to install an ignition interlock in their car. The bill, HB 3016, passed the Texas House by a vote of 140 Yeas, 4 Nays, and 1 Present, and is currently under consideration by the Texas Senate. You can read more about the bill in an article from the Houston Chronicle and an article from Austin NBC affiliate KXAN.

Learning About Police Interaction in Driver's Education

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently signed a bill that mandates driver's education classes in public schools to educate students on how to appropriately interact with law enforcement officers during traffic stops. The bill comes on the heels of several high-profile instances of people in vehicles being shot by law enforcement. You can read the full text of the bill as enacted here and a Washington Post article about the bill here. The Washington Post also recently ran an article about how police have killed almost 200 people in moving vehicles since 2015, which you can read here. The article is based off of data from the Washington Post's police shooting database, accessible here.

New Drugged Driving Report from GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Administration recently released a new comprehensive report about drugged driving in the United States. Among its findings was that 43% of fatally-injured drivers with a known test result tested positively for drugs, more frequent than alcohol was present. However, as a recent NPR article about the report pointed out, this does not necessarily mean that drugs are now responsible for more traffic fatalities than alcohol--such a claim is presently unverifiable because the standards used to measure alcohol impairment do not translate directly to measuring drug impairment. You can download the full report on this page, along with infographics and other supporting resources.

Does Uber Prevent Drunk Driving?

The New York Times recently published an article discussing whether ride-sharing services such as Uber have decreased drunken-driving crashes and fatalities. A recent independent study conducted by a PhD candidate at the City University of New York suggests a 25-35% drop in alcohol-related collisions in the four New York City boroughs it studied, seemingly in contrast with a 2016 nationwide study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluding that rideshare services did not significantly affect the number of traffic fatalities in cities in which such services were deployed. Other studies by Temple University and by Western Carolina University suggest a drop in alcohol-related traffic incidents and fatalities due to Uber, as does a study conducted jointly by Uber and MADD. The New York Times article includes a passage cautioning against the immediate assumption of causation due to finding a correlation in such data.

Ignition Interlock Legislative Efforts in Massachusetts

The Boston Globe recently published an article about the increasing prevalence of ignition interlocks as a judicial sanction and deterrent to alcohol-impaired driving. The article provides an overview of recent efforts in the Massachusetts legislature to pass a bill that would provide for ignition interlocks as a possible sanction after a first drunken-driving offense. (Massachusetts is currently one of two states that does not allow interlocks to be a first-offense sanction.) The article also gives an overview of recent research regarding the effectiveness of interlocks. You can read the article here.

2017 'Click It Or Ticket' Campaign

The U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA recently announced the beginning of their 2017 'Click It Or Ticket' campaign. The annual campaign targets all drivers, but particularly males from age 18-34 who typically do not wear seat belts as often as other demographics. The ad campaign for the program will run from May 16 to June 5, and increased enforcement will take place from May 22 through June 4. You can read the press release about the campaign here.

Traffic Resource Center Redesign

The NCSC team recently redesigned the Traffic Resource Center for Judges and updated the content of the website. Among the updates is a new Constitutional Considerations page, which lists and describes major cases from the Supreme Court that deal in some way with traffic, along with links to the opinion in each case. The website's other resources, such as our collection of issue briefs and page about Missouri v. McNeely and its progeny, remain on the site (though potentially in a different location than before). We also still have physical copies of our issue brief compendium, which may be acquired by emailing Greg Hurley at ghurley@ncsc.org.

DWI Court Foundational Training

The National Center for DWI Courts is holding four sessions of its 3.5 day DWI Court Foundational Training later this year. The training is designed for courts not yet operating a DWI court program, teams that had significant staff changes or teams that have never attended a NCDC training before, and uses the 10 Guiding Principles for DWI Courts and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals' Best Practice Standards to design an effective program for treating repeat DWI offenders. The four locations for the training are: Billings, Montana (Aug. 28-31), Helena, Montana (Sept. 12-15), El Paso, Texas (Oct. 16-19), and Athens, Georgia (Dec. 4-7). The application deadline for the program is June 23.

Upcoming Courses at the National Judicial College

The following courses are offered by the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, in the coming months. A limited number of scholarships are available through generous funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Please contact Katheryn Yetter at yetter@judges.org or (775) 327-8269 for more information.

Behind the Wheel: Today’s Traffic Offender (October 23-26; Reno, NV) The arena of traffic-related offenses is constantly evolving. Statistically, driving while under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol will be an issue that will appear with more frequency in traffic courts around the country. This course will delve into several issues that judges who hear traffic cases will experience this year, as well as offer insight into case issues and strategies from the prospective of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the law enforcement officer, and the treatment provider. The course will also offer in- depth insight on how roadside drug detection is done as well as how the 12-step DRE protocol is conducted. Additionally, the course will offer a demonstration on the various types of drug and alcohol detection equipment that is available and the reliability of the instruments.

Properly and Effectively Adjudicating Drugged Drivers (October 30 - December 8; online; free) Unlike alcohol-impaired driving, drugged driving has fewer tools in the field to detect impairment and concentration levels in the body. Drugged driving cases require a judge to utilize a variety of judicial tools to effectively adjudicate these cases. In addition to the ability to determine which kinds of drugs an individual may be using, it is important to know how these drugs affect the individual and their ability to operate a vehicle. It is also imperative that a judge knows how to effectively craft sentences, which include treatment options, in order to provide a participant with the most beneficial mode of recovery.

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