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Highway Safety Training Programs Overview

MPTC hires Subject Matter Experts (SME's) to design, implement, monitor and evaluate training for law enforcement based on recommendations from NHTSA, OGR, MPTC and local law enforcement. Some of the training's include; instructor certification and re-certification, recruit and reserve intermittent training, professional development and update trainings.

Table of Contents

Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE)

The Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) program is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). ARIDE was created to address the gap in training between the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program.

The SFST program trains officers to identify and assess drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol while the DEC Program provides more advanced training to evaluate suspected drug impairment. The SFST assessment is typically employed at roadside, while an officer trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE) through the DEC Program conducts a drug evaluation in a more controlled environment such as a detention facility.

ARIDE is a 16-hour training course, which is intended to bridge the gap between these two programs by providing officers with more knowledge related to drug impairment and by promoting the use of DREs.  The ARIDE program also stresses the importance of securing the most appropriate biological sample in order to identify substances likely causing impairment.

In order to be accepted to an ARIDE class, participants must have successfully completed the NHTSA/IACP SFST course. On the first day participants must successfully demonstrate their SFST skills during an SFST proficiency assessment. This is mandatory in order to continue on in the ARIDE class.

With the dramatic increase in drugged driving incidents, this course will give the participants more knowledge and skills in the detection and apprehension of drug impaired drivers. Further, In Massachusetts with the legalization of recreational marijuana, participants will become much more confident in their ability to remove these impaired drivers from the roadways.

For more information about this program please contact: Chief Peter Buck at peter.j.buck@mass.gov 

Drug Recognition Expert

The DRE Program trains police officers and other approved public safety officials as drug recognition experts (DREs) through a three-phase training process:

  1. Drug Recognition Expert Pre-School (16 hours)
  2. Drug Recognition Expert DRE School (56 hours)
  3. Drug Recognition Expert Field Certification (Approximately 40 – 60 hrs)

The training relies heavily on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s), which provide the foundation for the DEC Program. Once trained and certified, DREs become highly effective officers skilled in the detection and identification of persons impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. DREs are trained to conduct a systematic and standardized 12-step evaluation consisting of physical, mental and medical components.

Because of the complexity and technical aspects of the DRE training, not all police officers may be suited for the training. Experience has shown that training a well-defined group of officers proficient in impaired driving enforcement works well and can be very effective.

The DRE classroom training is designed to assist the student achieve three broad goals and eight specific learning objectives.


  1. Determine if an individual is under the influence of a drug or drugs other than alcohol, or the combined influence of alcohol and other drugs, or suffering from some injury or illness that produces similar signs to alcohol/drug impairment;
  2. Identify the broad category or categories of drugs inducing the observable signs and symptoms of impairment; and
  3. Progress to the Field Certification Phase of the training.


  1. Be able to describe the involvement of drugs in impaired driving incidents;
  2. Name the seven drug categories and recognize their effects;
  3. Describe and properly administer the psychophysical and physiological evaluations used in the drug evaluation and classification procedures;
  4. Prepare a narrative drug influence evaluation report;
  5. Discuss appropriate procedures for testifying in typical drug evaluation and classification cases, and;
  6. Maintain up-to-date DRE curriculum vitae.

For more statewide and national information on this program visit the Massachusetts Drug Recognition Expert Association

For more information about this program please contact: Chief Peter Buck at peter.j.buck@mass.gov 

Additional Resources   for Drug Recognition Expert

Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Reporting (Online)

The Crash reporting Course is designed for police officers to gain an understanding of the importance of crash data and how to properly enter that data.

The Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash reporting principles provide valuable data to many different local, state and federal organizations and personnel.  This information also assists in determining where resources are most needed to reduce fatalities, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. One of the obstacles faced is the inconsistency in reporting.  The crash data system and crash reporting form has also been updated to add BAC reporting mandates which will increase the number of BACs reported and improve the timeliness of BAC data received.

To access the course, please visit this link to Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Reporting Training available on the EOPSS e-Learning Site.  

For more information about this program please contact: Ross Panacopoulos (Ret), Advanced Traffic Crash Investigation (ATCI).

Motor Vehicle Crash Investigation

Accurate and complete crash investigations advance traffic safety by providing usable data for engineers and automobile manufacturers to better evaluate roadway and vehicle design and also to evaluate whether traffic laws were violated.  In the latter instance, crash investigations are utilized to hold drivers accountable for creating safety hazards and to identify public education needs.  As well as training to increase police officers’ understanding and expertise on speed measurement to ensure proper delivery of practical exercise and examination for estimating vehicular speed.

MPTC provides various levels of Crash Investigation certification and re certification in police academies and departments around the Commonwealth.   

Current courses offered under Crash Investigation are as follows:

  • Basic Crash Investigation                                                                  
  • Advanced Crash Investigation                                              
  • Crash Reconstruction                                                             
  • Crash Investigation/Reconstruction Refresher                      
  • Crash Course: Special Problems                                            
  • Nighttime Crash Investigation                                               

MPTC also conducts train-the-trainers on Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies (TOPS), which is offered to all officers to increase seatbelt use among law enforcement as well as increase seatbelt awareness and enforcement throughout the Commonwealth. 

Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies TOPS, is a four hour class offered to Recruit and Veteran Officers to increase seatbelt use among law enforcement officer’s as well as increase seatbelt awareness and enforcement by law enforcement officers.

The program was developed by NHTSA with the input of law enforcement officers.  Currently there is a shortage of certified TOPS instructors in the state of Massachusetts. So at this time we are requesting funding for a Train the Trainer program.  This is a three day course which will provide a new TOPS instructor with all of the material and training needed to teach the four hour class.

It should be noted that under current state policy guidelines a Police Officer must receive the four hour TOPS training prior to working any federally funded enforcement programs.

For more information about this program please contact: Ross Panacopoulos (Ret), Advanced Traffic Crash Investigation (ATCI).

Speed Measurement LIDAR and Radar

MPTC provides various levels of Speed Measurement courses in police academies and police departments around the Commonwealth. Our goal is to: increase instructor base to accommodate demand from full-time and reserve intermittent basic recruit training programs; provide annual updates to current instructors to improve and maintain proficiency in subject matter and professional development as a trainer; provide core and Radar Operator training to officers not currently certified; provide post academy specialized LIDAR Operator training to officers not current certified; increase the number of certified Radar and LIDAR operators; practical skills necessary to perform effective speed enforcement required to reduce the number of property damage, personal injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes statewide; review and revise current speed measurement curriculum to incorporate LIDAR training and current technology trends into basic recruit level training and acquire radar equipment for all MPTC academies to ensure proper delivery of practical exercise and examination for estimating vehicular speed.

Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) is a detection system that works on the principle of radar but uses light from a laser. Through LIDAR training we hope to improve the effectiveness of speed enforcement through the proper and efficient use of LIDAR speed-measuring devices.

RADAR is a system for detecting the presence, direction, distance, and speed of aircraft, ships, and other objects, by sending out pulses of high-frequency electromagnetic waves that are reflected off the object back to the source. Radar speed-measuring devices are effective tools for measuring vehicle speed. As the technology improves, radar devices will continue to be a major component of highway safety.

For more information about this program please contact: Lieutenant Stephen Mullaney (Ret.), 

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)

This 24 hour course prepares and certifies officers to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests for use in OUIL and OUID investigations.  Participants will learn to:

  • Recognize driving behaviors and common indicators exhibited by impaired drivers
  • Develop better understanding of the tasks and decisions involved in OUIL detection
  • Understand deterrent effect of OUIL enforcement
  • Have a better understanding of the legal environment relative to OUIL enforcement
  • Know and perform the appropriate administration of the 4 Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
  • Understand the OUIL prosecuting requirements
  • Improve officer’s ability to recognize the observable signs usually associated with drug impairment.
  • Apply appropriate procedures for dealing with drug or medically impaired suspects.
  • Preliminary Breath Test Operator Certification.

The principal activity of this course is two 4 hour blocks of hands on instruction by the participants in “controlled drinking” in which the officers administer SFST to volunteer who have consumed various amounts of alcohol.  Officers also practice observing, recording and interpreting test results during these sessions.

For more information about this program please contact: Lieutenant Stephen Mullaney (Ret.), 

Standardized Fields Sobriety Testing Refresher

This 8 hour course focuses on alcohol impaired driving and is intended for officers who have successfully completed the 24 hour MPTC or NHTSA approved DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Training Program.  The primary purpose of SFST Update Training is to improve the overall consistency of administration of the SFST test battery by individual officers. 

Officers can update their skills with:

  • Recognizing and interpreting evidence of OUIL
  • Administering and interpreting scientifically validated tests
  • Describing OUIL evidence clearly and convincingly
  • Information regarding recent case law and research studies

This class is highly recommended for officers that have not attended SFST training since 2006 and officers preparing to attend ARIDE training.

Pre-requisite:  Completion of 24 hour SFST course

For more information about this program please contact: Lieutenant Stephen Mullaney (Ret.), 

OUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor Development

This 40 hour training program prepares officers to effectively administer and instruct the SFST training program.  This course includes;

  • Basic instruction techniques needed to deliver the SFST instruction curriculum
  • Overview of alcohol, drugs and highway safety
  • Review of SFST and curriculum revisions
  • Proper procedures for conducting controlled drinking workshops
  • Practice teaching sessions

To attend this course, you must have successfully completed the basic SFST training course and demonstrate proficiency and experience in administering the SFST battery.  Preference will be given to officers qualified and willing to instruct at the recruit and specialized levels.

For more information about this program please contact: Lieutenant Stephen Mullaney (Ret.), 

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