In addressing the highway safety needs of the state, MVA's Highway Safety Office (MHSO) administers numerous highway safety programs and projects. A major portion of almost every program includes a law enforcement component. Inherent in highway safety is the use of behavior modification to achieve multiple objectives, including, but not limited to, reductions in vehicle fatalities, reductions in impaired driving, and increasing seat belt usage. Enforcement of traffic laws is a large contributor to modifying driver behavior. Maryland has over 140 law enforcement agencies throughout the state, most of which have the authority and resources to enforce traffic laws. MHSO continues to utilize a comprehensive approach to coordinating and supporting the traffic safety activities of law enforcement agencies across the state. This is accomplished in a variety of fashions including, but not limited to:
The programs that most directly address behavioral modification are supplemented with enforcement support funding. These programs that include targeted enforcement are Aggressive Driving, Impaired Driving, Occupant Protection, Motorcycle Safety, and Pedestrian Safety.
Police Traffic Services
Law enforcement agencies are expected to address a multitude of public safety concerns, including rising crime rates, drug use, and traffic fatalities and injuries, especially in a post-9/11 environment. However, law enforcement agencies, in most cases, are expected to do this with current or static resources and budgets. Therefore, MHSO staff work closely with law enforcement agencies to seek unique and innovative approaches that can combine and achieve multiple law enforcement objectives. Activities include training courses for law enforcement officers in Crash Reconstruction, Crash Investigation, Advanced Training for the Impaired Driving Program (DUI Institute), and coordination and participation in the annual Law Enforcement Challenge activities.
Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and Maryland Sheriffs Association
Multiple MHSO staff are involved in the promotion and development of this association's activities, as they relate to highway safety. These associations help serve as a vehicle for communicating and providing top-level encouragement in participating in SHA's initiatives and campaigns, as well as providing endorsed outlets for law enforcement trainings in highway safety.
RTSP - Regional Traffic Safety Program
Each Regional Traffic Safety Program (RTSP) receives additional funding to support local traffic enforcement, including special events enforcement such as motorcycle safety enforcement at BikeFest at Maryland International Raceway, and DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols at the Tiki Bar opening on Solomon's Island, to name a few. RTSP Coordinators are also expected to coordinate enforcement activities in relation to NHTSA national crackdown periods and MHSO initiatives, including Click It Or Ticket seat belt enforcement, Checkpoint Strikeforce impaired driving enforcement, and Smooth Operator aggressive driving enforcement, to name a few.
Maryland Traffic Safety Specialist Program
The Maryland Traffic Safety Specialist (TSS) Program is a statewide program that recognizes police officers who have attained distinctive levels of experience, training and proficiency in Highway Safety and Traffic Enforcement methods and procedures. The TSS program is open to all police officers, deputy sheriffs and state troopers from all Maryland law enforcement agencies and to certain Federal law enforcement officers. The TSS program is funded through a grant from the Maryland Highway safety Office, as a part of Maryland’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, and is a collaborative effort of the Maryland Sheriff’s Association, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the Maryland Highway Safety Office and the MPCTC. The program is managed by the staff of the Leadership Development Institute, MPCTC.