Evaluation of 1983 Selective Speed Enforcement Projects in Virginia

Report No: 86-R19

Published in 1985

About the report:

This report describes and evaluates Virginia's 1983 selective speed enforcement projects. These projects are one of the various types of highway safety programs, classified as selective traffic enforcement projects (STEPs) partially funded by the federal government under the Highway Safety Act. The state allocates federal monies among competing state and local police agencies to fund their efforts to reduce identified crash problems. Virginia allocated $456,296 of its federal allocation for highway safety activities to selective speed enforcement in fiscal year 1983. Of this, $293,576 went to the Department of State Police and $162,720 to 12 city and county law enforcement departments. As a condition of the state grant, the federal government requires that the effectiveness of the programs be evaluated. This report is the second in a series of such evaluations prepared in compliance with the federal requirements. It follows much of the analytic framework established in the evaluation report for the 1982 projects. Since the evaluation of the 1982 projects was not completed until 1985, the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of that report were not available to the people who planned and conducted the 1983 projects. Thus, several of those findings, conclusions, and recommendations are repeated here because project selection and implementation procedures were unchanged. This report describes each of the local projects, including problem identification, project goals, proposed enforcement activity, and results achieved. Each project director set activity and crash reduction goals. The evaluations of the projects compare the goals with results in terms of the number of traffic crashes. Project effectiveness is also examined by analyzing data for speed-related crashes, in which the police identified speed as a factor contributing to the occurrence or the severity of the crash. While most projects aimed at reducing the number of total crashes, the methodology adopted in this report focused on changes in the number of serious crashes -- those crashes resulting in a death or personal injury -- because these crashes are more closely related to speed-related crashes than total crashes are. Many localities had too few serious crashes and speed-related crashes for the computation of statistical values with which to make comparative analyses. Consequently, a more general approach .is used to compare crash data from the selective enforcement community against hypothetical comparison communities derived from statewide data. Baseline data were gathered from the crash reports filed with the state police and covered the three-year period from 1980-1981. The analysis revealed that while few projects met their goals in terms of reducing the number of total crashes, several did appear to affect the identified speed-related crash problems.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Stephen M. Sharkey, Charles B. Stoke

Last updated: February 10, 2024

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