The nation’s oldest and largest college for judges, The National Judicial College (NJC), has entered into a five-year $1.27 million cooperative agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to educate judges on issues related to impaired driving. The agreement adds to an earlier announced near-$1 million grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA grant is designed to improve highway traffic safety by educating judges and other court officials about their role in upholding the law set forth in national Commercial Driver’s License regulations.
Among other deliverables, the latest agreement with NHTSA provides funding to develop a coursework certificate program customized to judges from non-lawyer backgrounds and new courses for military and tribal adjudicators. The agreement also will enable the judicial college to deliver courses on drug-impaired driving to judges in their own state.
The courses will feature the latest research in areas such as toxicology, scientific evidence, alcohol and drug impairment detection and screening, the use of ignition interlock, drug and DUI courts, incentives and sanctions, and supervision and sentencing practices.
NJC President Benes Z. Aldana said, “These programs will assist traffic judges in weighing evidence, qualifying experts, developing appropriate incentives, sanctions, and interventions, and providing leadership in their communities.”
NHTSA has partnered with the NJC on traffic-related programs for judges for more than 15 years. The latest outreach will include special programming for justices of the peace, some of whom come from non-lawyer backgrounds. These judges often serve in rural communities and must preside over cases dealing with drivers on rural transportation networks.
The NHTSA agreement will begin September 28. NHTSA recently extended another cooperative agreement with the College worth approximately $1.12 million that began in 2015 and is now scheduled to conclude in 2021.
NHTSA is an agency of the federal Transportation Department with a mission to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.” The agency awards grants to state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and other entities in support of motor vehicles and road traffic safety initiatives.
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Created more than a half-century ago at the recommendation of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the country that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. The categories of judges served by this nonprofit and nonpartisan institution decide more than 95 percent of the cases in the United States. The College has been based in Reno, Nevada, since 1964 and offers hundreds of programs throughout the United States, abroad and online.