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Can Crashes Involving Police Be Prevented?

On behalf of Oldham & Smith posted in Car Accidents on Monday, February 13, 2012

The Orlando Sentinel took a look at crash data recently. After studying data spanning five years, it concluded that police officers are involved in far more car accidents than people might think. It’s estimated that one in 44 car accidents in Florida involves a law enforcement vehicle.

That averages out to 20 Florida police vehicles crashing into something every day. The Sentinel says that annually those crashes leave 20 people dead, injure 2,400 more and cause property damage totaling $25 million.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the crashes happen when officers are driving routinely, not when they are responding to an emergency or are involved in a high-speed chase.

Florida cops have a lot to distract them. As technology in police vehicles has become more sophisticated, the potential for distraction has grown. And yet, the Sentinel says, most of the accidents in which cops are to blame are preventable and tend to involve careless driving and speeding.

They are rarely ticketed for traffic violations. Even though over 7,000 Florida crashes every year involve police officers, they are ticketed only 11 percent of the time if they are at fault. That compares to 64 percent of average drivers who are found to be at fault for crashes.

The president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association is aware of the problem and says that a study has been launched jointly with the Florida Highway Patrol to take a closer look. Hopefully that move will prevent more crashes in the future.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Day 1: Cops crash often, ticketed rarely,” Rene Stutzman and Scott Powers, Feb. 11, 2012

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