National Academies Press: OpenBook

Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
Page 7
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
Page 8

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5   The goal of Phase I was to identify ways in which states currently track citation, adjudication, and disposition data; challenges they face when doing so; and strategies for addressing these chal- lenges. This phase incorporated two primary tasks—a broad survey of publicly available infor- mation across all states and a series of in-depth interviews with highway safety representatives from the governments of representative states. This combination of tasks enabled broad-based understanding of the general structure and challenges faced by all states, along with detailed information from a subset of states that provided more detail than what was publicly available. The information gained in the broad survey task supported both the selection of representative states for interviews along with development and refinement of interview questions. Information on Citation and Adjudication Tracking Systems In the first task of Phase I, the project team obtained information on state citation and adju- dication tracking systems and unification constructs from public records websites, TRAs, and existing resources like the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Court Structure Charts. Of particular interest for the identification of exemplar states for further analysis was the determi- nation of the degree to which each state is unified over each of three discrete constructs: legal, structural, and digital. Unification is a critical concept underlying how states track citations data, as the degree to which each of these factors is unified directly affects the ease with which traffic records can be synthesized and tracked within the state. Briefly, the three unifying constructs are defined as follows. • Unification of Legal Code: The extent to which there is a consistent set of citation defini- tions across municipalities within the state, which streamlines data sharing within the state and potentially across states, and if universal standards such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) were adopted, although this was outside the scope of this project. As the definition of legal unification has some vagueness, the output of this question was depen- dent upon each state’s self-reporting of the degree to which it has a consistent set of citation definitions or municipal citations that reference the state’s statutes. • Unification of Structure: The extent to which a court system is divided into multiple juris- dictional tiers, in conjunction with the centrality of the funding of these tiers. It may be more challenging to track data through court systems with many tiers and multiple sources of fund- ing (e.g., state versus local and state). Data for this construct were informed by the website of the NCSC and several questions from the state’s TRA. • Unification/Digitization of Records: The extent to which a state has standardized the creation, storage, and transmission of court systems and driver’s license files into a digital format. Digital records are more easily transferred and maintained than paper copies. The response to this question was also informed by the NCSC’s website and several questions from the state’s TRA. C H A P T E R   2 State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts

6 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes As state court structures are highly diverse and unification is a complex concept, three axes were used to categorize states based on the three unification constructs defined above: (1) Uni- fication of Legal Code, (2) Unification of Structure, and (3) Unification/Digitization of Records. This categorization enabled the grouping of states with structural and functional similarities, allowing selection of representative states for the subsequent interview task. For each unification category, a score was assigned based on a standard scoring methodology, and these scores were then used to assign each state a Yes/No rating for each category. Based on the outputs of these ratings (for example: Legal, Y; Structure, N; Digitization, Y), states were then divided into eight unification categories, one for each possible permutation (for example: YNN, YNY, YYY). A summary of state unification categories is found in Table 1. Complete methods and results of this task are located in Appendix A, including scoring details and results for each state, which were also included in final project deliverables as a series of State Unification Fact Sheets. Following categorization, two states were identified within each category for detailed investiga- tion in the interview task. Exemplars from each category were selected, with a balance of geographic and population-level diversity in mind, in order to provide a broad range of inputs for the toolkit. Interviews with Highway Officials from Representative States After summary data collection and classification of states into unification categories, a subset of states was selected for more in-depth analysis following from interviews with state transporta- tion officials. Interviews were semi-structured, as they followed a script with specific questions Le ga l ( Y ), St ru ct ur al (Y ), D ig ita l ( Y ) Le ga l ( Y ), St ru ct ur al (Y ), N ot D ig ita l ( N ) Le ga l ( Y ), N ot S tru ct ur al (N ), D ig ita l ( Y ) Le ga l ( Y ), N ot S tru ct ur al (N ), N ot D ig ita l (N ) N ot L eg al (N ), St ru ct ur al (Y ), D ig ita l ( Y ) N ot L eg al (N ), St ru ct ur al (Y ), N ot D ig ita l ( N ) N ot L eg al (N ), N ot S tru ct ur al (N ), D ig ita l ( Y ) N ot L eg al (N ), N ot S tru ct ur al (N ), N ot D ig ita l (N ) Florida Alaska Arizona Alabama Delaware California Arkansas Hawaii New Hampshire Connecticut Kansas Georgia Iowa Maine Colorado Louisiana North Carolina Nebraska Missouri Idaho Massachusetts Maryland Indiana Mississippi North Dakota New Jersey Illinois Minnesota Montana Nevada Wisconsin New York Kentucky Utah New Mexico Ohio Pennsylvania Michigan Oregon Tennessee South Carolina Oklahoma Texas Vermont Rhode Island Washington Virginia South Dakota West Virginia Wyoming Table 1. Summary of state unification categories.

State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Tracking Efforts 7   but allowed for a natural flow of conversation, and were conducted in a single hour-long session in order to maximize relevant data while respecting respondents’ time. Interviewees from each state were state highway officials including representatives from traffic records coordinating com- mittees (TRCCs), departments of transportation (DOTs), law enforcement, and judicial systems, and each interview consisted of between one and five attendees. Prior to each interview, a customized script was developed to ensure question flow was con- sistent with the information collected about the state in the previous task. This script was devel- oped in conjunction with representatives of the NCSC and pilot tested with a state with panel representation. Interview questions were tailored to address factual topics relating to state pro- cedures to avoid subjectivity. Each interview was conducted by both the principal investigator and the project interviewer, with data being recorded both by real-time note taking of salient information and by video and audio recording of the teleconference using Zoom’s recording function. The team completed interviews with the 16 states selected for detailed data collection (Table 2). Data Analysis and Synthesis After high-level and interview data were collected for each state, data were coded and ana- lyzed in a method that both reduced free-flow conversations to discrete data chunks and enabled synthesis across states for summary in framework analyses. Coding and analysis flow for the project is illustrated in Figure 2. Following each interview, the audio/video recording was transcribed by a trained data coder and the transcription was checked by a second quality assurance reviewer. Data were then extracted and analyzed using a modified version of Framework Analysis (Ritchie and Spencer, 1994). Using this iterative approach, members of the project team with expertise in qualitative analysis coded the data through summarization and synthesis while maintaining the links to the original data. A thematic framework was developed by converging the question routes in Unification Category State Legal (Y), Structural (Y), Digital (Y) FL WI NC Legal (Y), Structural (Y), Digital (N) CT SC Legal (Y), Structural (N), Digital (Y) MO KS Legal (Y), Structural (N), Digital (N) GA KY Legal (N), Structural (Y), Digital (Y) IA MN Legal (N), Structural (Y), Digital (N) CA MD Legal (N), Structural (N), Digital (Y) MT Legal (N), Structural (N), Digital (N) OH TN Table 2. States interviewed within each unification category.

8 Strategies to Improve State Trafc Citation and Adjudication Outcomes the interview script with extracted transcripts, incorporating cases where question responses went beyond the strict domain of the question asked. emes included: • Challenges/Barriers facing citation and adjudication data acquisition, storage, transmission, and tracking – Including, where appropriate, challenges involving unication. • Strategies/Solutions that states have used to overcome these challenges – Including, where appropriate, benets following from unication. • Lessons Learned from the challenges and strategies that could help other states in similar unication categories, or states attempting to shi their level of unication – Focusing particularly on eorts to identify problem drivers. Aer data were reduced and analyzed using the thematic framework, they were synthesized to support the identication of methods for improving data tracking, the results of which are discussed in Chapter 3. Figure 2. Analysis ow.

Next: Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility »
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The ability of state agencies to track citation, adjudication, and disposition data accurately and effectively is essential for the identification and appropriate adjudication of problem drivers and habitual offenders. Efficient data tracking can provide benefits at all steps of the citation-adjudication process, from providing real-time information and safer roadside stops for law enforcement officers to reducing errors and improving transmission speed during the adjudication stage to facilitating data storage and effective analyses following disposition.

The TRB Behavorial Transportation Safety Cooperative Research Program's BTSCRP Research Report 5: Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes identifies challenges and barriers to effective citation data tracking along with proven strategies and solutions to address these challenges, with the goal of developing a series of practical and meaningful steps that state highway safety officials could use to implement these strategies.

Supplemental to the report is Toolkit for Improving Citation and Adjudication Tracking, which is a PowerPoint presentation with voiceover components. Slides from the toolkit are presented in Appendix D and the script for the voiceover is included in Appendix E.

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