By Frank Hinds, Executive Director
I had the opportunity recently to attend Traffic Survival School (TSS), as an observer. TSS is administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles and is “designed to reach individuals who have exhibited a disregard for traffic laws and the safety of others”.
The class I attended was made up of 20 individuals approximately 25 – 45 years of age. About 50-50 men verses women and also about 50-50 DUI and red light runners, however; there was one teenager under 18 who had received his second speeding ticket – this time doing 78 mph in a 45 mph zone!
Many of the people in the class expressed remorse for their violation, a few didn’t understand the red light running laws and therefore weren’t clear as to why they received a ticket in the first place. It may surprise you that not all the DUI offenders were alcohol related. One guy had taken two Ambien by mistake, causing him to drive erratically and another was high on marijuana – both had their licenses suspended, although the marijuana guy admitted that he was still driving!
Approximately 75,000 individuals attend TSS every year in Arizona. The primary goal of Traffic Survival School is to change driver behavior, improve knowledge of traffic laws and discourage repeat offenders. Unfortunately, many in this class will be caught again for the same or similar offenses, so in my opinion, the effectiveness of the current TSS curriculum is questionable.
Attendance at Traffic Survival School is mandatory for certain violations, but until the courts are given more sentencing tools by the legislature, including the option of more jail time, changing the behavior of a significant number of drivers will never happen.