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30 The primary objectives of Phase 1 of this project were to gather information on current leg- islation and conduct an in-depth examination of the different strategies and methods used to enact and enforce electronic device use laws and educate the public about these laws. The find- ings of Phase 1 were presented to the project panel in an interim report and follow-up meeting. The information gathered supported the development of the deliverables in Phase 2 related to sharing good practices. 3.1 Interim Report The interim report included a summary of the findings from Phase 1 on existing electronic device legislation and enforcement practices and the proposed plan for development of the Phase 2 materials. This section summarizes some of the key findings from Phase 1 that were presented in the interim report and were incorporated into the Phase 2 materials. 3.1.1 Language of a Model Law â¢ The language proposed for the model law should be clear and carefully scrutinized to mini- mize interpretations. â¢ Representation from law enforcement personnel when developing the language of the law is necessary to ensure that the model law is enforceable. â¢ As NHTSA 405E funding is substantial, model language that is in line with NHTSA require- ments is likely to be helpful for U.S. states. 3.1.2 Fines and Penalties â¢ While a number of jurisdictions had incremental penalties or incremental fines, the effective- ness of this measure has not been evaluated. Several jurisdictions indicated that the incremen- tal method may have some flaws that need to be addressed related to delays in the citation processing system. â¢ In general, jurisdictions indicated that penalties and fines ought to be in line with other traffic safety citations. There is some concern that if the penalties and fines are too high, it may nega- tively affect enforcement of the law. However, most jurisdictions indicated that the public was accepting the penalties and fines in place for distracted driving. â¢ A number of jurisdictions had legislation in place allowing for a prison sentence for injury or fatal crashes that could be attributed to distracted driving. When legislation was connected to a specific traumatic event, it provided an opportunity to raise public awareness. C H A P T E R 3 Development of Deliverables to Share Best Practices
Development of Deliverables to Share Best Practices 31 3.1.3 Education and Enforcement Efforts â¢ Effective tools include a combination of high-visibility enforcement of the law and targeted public information, education, and outreach campaigns. This is in line with previous research that has shown public information, education campaigns, and community-sponsored events coupled with rigorous law enforcement operations positively influence motoristsâ behavior and remind the public of the consequences of disobeying the law. â¢ Jurisdictions shared many of the enforcement challenges as well as recommended strategies and practices. These served as the basis for the law enforcement PowerPoint presentation (Appendix G). 3.1.4 Coalition Building â¢ It is clear that while law enforcement assumes the primary responsibility for enforcing traffic safety laws, the success of a targeted safety program is enhanced by a clear plan and continuous support from key community members. An effective and sustained program must have the acceptance, support, and participation of key stakeholders such as: â Government officials, â Judges and prosecutors, â Marketing and media representatives, â Medical professionals and emergency responders, â Educators, â Victim advocates, and â Community representatives and business owners. â¢ Working with different partners to design the distracted driving law is critical to maximizing public acceptance. 3.1.5 Data Collection and Evaluation â¢ Data collection and evaluation efforts included observational electronic device use surveys, crash and citation data, and public perception surveys. The extent to which these data are collected and analyzed varied greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. â¢ Effective programs track success, identify limitations, and use data to direct future activities. Continuous and periodic evaluation of the impact of distracted driving enforcement and education is essential for sustaining its success. Monitoring vehicle occupant behavior prior to and throughout the implementation of a traffic safety program is critical for several reasons: â Initial measures will allow representatives to understand the current situation and the extent of the problem with respect to: ï¿½ Overall electronic device use rates; ï¿½ Distracted drivingârelated traffic stops, citations, and warning violations issued; ï¿½ Serious injury and fatal crash rates related to distracted driving; and ï¿½ High-risk populations for targeting education and outreach. â Periodic measures will enable representatives to identify: ï¿½ If and when program goals are met; ï¿½ Enforcement and education strategies that are most or least effective; ï¿½ Changes needed to improve current education and enforcement approaches; ï¿½ How to redirect resources; and ï¿½ Officer feedback and motivation needs.
32 Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications 3.2 Sharing Best Practices In Phase 2 of the study, the Westat team developed a series of deliverables highlighting best practices with respect to electronic device legislation, enforcement, and education. The deliver- ables included: â¢ Model legislation, â¢ Presentation for stakeholders, â¢ Presentation for law enforcement officers, â¢ Highlight document for legislators, â¢ Model press release, â¢ Research webinar for practitioners, and â¢ Presentation for Governorâs Highway Safety Association. All deliverables were submitted to the project panel for review. These deliverables incorpo- rated information gathered during Phase 1 of the project and feedback from the project panel on the interim report, as well as information from existing toolkits aimed at addressing distracted driving through legislation, enforcement, and education. Each deliverable was designed to pres- ent customized information for different target audiences and is included in the appendices. The following sections describe each deliverable. 3.2.1 Model Legislation Based on the review of existing legislation and discussions with representatives from the selected states and provinces, the authors developed text for a model law (see Appendix D). Examples from states, localities, and provinces that have proven to be well written and reason- able to enforce were used as guides for wording and content. Available technology, electronic device uses, and potential future uses were considered when developing the language of the model law to ensure that it addressed current and future behaviors. In addition, when develop- ing the wording for the model law, the authors considered guidelines for NHTSA 405E fund- ing. Once a draft was developed, the model legislation was reviewed by Assistant Chief Thomas Didone of the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland. The target audience for the document is key stakeholders involved in promoting legislation related to electronic device use while driving, including legislators and policy makers, highway safety administrators, law enforcement personnel, community stakeholders, and advocates. The purpose of the document is to provide stakeholders with guidance and language they can use to enact or revise an electronic device use law. The document includes an introductory section that describes the key components of model legislation, followed by specific model law language, including definitions of terminology, pro- hibitions, exemptions, and penalties. 3.2.2 Presentation for Stakeholders A presentation was developed to highlight the successful strategies, protocols, and procedures used by states and provinces when they were drafting and enacting legislation to deter distracted driving. The presentation was designed to provide relevant information and guidance for dif- ferent stakeholders responsible for drafting, enacting, implementing, and enforcing legislation, as well as educating the public on the significant safety benefits of complying with the law. The target audience is legislators and policy makers, highway safety administrators, law enforcement, community stakeholders and advocates, public health officers, and educators.
Development of Deliverables to Share Best Practices 33 The presentation (see Appendix F) is designed for use by different presenters and functions as a slide deck so that it can be customized for the target audience. Appendix E provides guidance on the purpose and structure of the slides. The presentation begins with an introduction that is intended for all users and includes background, key definitions, and an overview of the differ- ent implementation stages of effective electronic device legislation. This is followed by tailored slides for each of the target audiences. These specifically address areas of interest for the intended audience, beginning with an opening slide describing the target audienceâs role in developing, implementing, enforcing, and sustaining electronic device use legislation. This is followed by a series of slides outlining components that need to be considered by each audience. This struc- ture enables the user to present an overview of the topic to all audiences while providing more detailed and targeted information as needed. 3.2.3 Presentation for Law Enforcement Officers For a distracted driving traffic safety program to be effective, law enforcement officers need to be familiar with the legislation, understand that electronic device and distracted driving enforcement is an important part of traffic safety, and be willing to communicate this message to motorists. Findings from discussions with law enforcement officials on successful programs employed by different agencies, as well as from additional resources such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Distracted Driving Toolkit, guided the development of an in-depth electronic presentation for officers on effective enforcement strategies to prevent distracted driving (see Appendix G). The presentation includes enforcement strategies for jurisdictions with existing laws that present enforcement challenges, such as a texting law or a secondary law, as well as strategies for jurisdictions without such challenges. Important elements of effective enforcement efforts that are described in the presentation include: â¢ Prioritizing distracted driving as a traffic safety issue within the law enforcement agency, â¢ Conducting targeted training and education for law enforcement, â¢ Implementing effective enforcement strategies, â¢ Using data to direct enforcement efforts, â¢ Highlighting officer safety and the importance of reducing distractions while driving for work, â¢ Providing feedback to law enforcement officers, and â¢ Motivating officers within the law enforcement agency. The presentation emphasizes the role of law enforcement in supporting the process of implementing or revising electronic device use legislation, public education, and ongoing sustainable enforcement efforts. The presentation is customizable and may be trimmed or segmented into several training sessions in accordance with agency needs. 3.2.4 Highlight Document for Legislators A comprehensive document was developed to help inform legislators on the importance of distracted driving legislation and the components of a strong electronic device use law (see Appendix H). The document was designed for delivery to legislators and policy makers by highway safety administrators and community stakeholders and advocates. To make the document an accessible decision-making aid, the research findings were orga- nized to clearly convey the most relevant and useful information in a concise manner. The summary includes background, the benefits of a stronger law, and key components of a strong law. The document presents critical information using statistics, infographics, and concise bullet points.
34 Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications 3.2.5 Model Press Release The model press release in Appendix I was designed to communicate (via targeted media) information on legislation to the general public, partners, special populations, and stake holders. The document contains examples from the jurisdictions as well as related press materials. The model press release provides general guidelines for a well-designed outreach message, as well as key components such as the importance of a compelling headline, a clear call to action, being concise, and suggested media channels. The document provides sample text and talking points for different stakeholders. The content is customizable, which is important both for dif- ferent types of jurisdictions (e.g., rural versus urban) and for different stakeholders, such as law enforcement personnel, community stakeholders, and highway safety agencies. Examples of related press releases and media pieces are also provided. 3.2.6 Research Webinar for Practitioners A research webinar was designed to present highway safety practitioners and researchers with the methods and key results from this project (see Appendix J). The webinar was designed as a PowerPoint presentation. The goal of the presentation was to review the study methodol- ogy and findings in detail as well as some of the best practices that were identified. The pre- sentation includes: â¢ Study background; â¢ Methodology description; â¢ Review of key findings (including laws as they existed in January 2019), effective education and enforcement strategies in use, and successes and challenges experienced by different jurisdictions; and â¢ Review of key deliverables designed to share best practices with stakeholders in states and communities. Conducting the research webinar provides an opportunity to answer any questions about the study and the findings. It also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to meet and estab- lish relationships that will allow them to share the challenges they face and brainstorm solu- tions. Based on input from contacts in the different jurisdictions, there is a strong interest in participating in this type of webinar.