Police Cars at Greater Risk of Crashing When Responding to an EmergencyMarch 15, 2019
Part of a police officer’s job is to respond to emergency situations, such as car accidents, by arriving at the scene of the accident as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, this involves navigating through heavy traffic, and responding to unexpected situations at a high rate of speed. According to a study from the University of Iowa, this can create dangerous situations, particularly if motorists fail to pull over for police cars who are on their way to an emergency, with their lights flashing and sirens wailing. In fact, researchers found that police cars are almost twice as likely to be involved in a serious car accident when they are traveling to an emergency.
Multiple Distractions Contribute to Police Car Accidents
Researchers involved in the study found that police officers are inundated with multiple distractions when rushing to an emergency. For example, they may need to take incoming calls from dispatch about important accident details. In addition, they must pay close attention to their surroundings to avoid other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians as they rush to the accident, usually at a high rate of speed. Depending on the location of the accident, the officers may have to navigate sudden turns, unsafe road conditions, and the unpredictable driving behavior of other motorists.
According to a professor of occupational and environmental health, the multitasking that police officers must do while driving at a high rate of speed can take their attention off the road. As a result, this can significantly increase the risk of a serious accident. In some cases, this may involve multiple vehicles.
The study found that police cars were involved in 2,406 car accidents from 2005 to 2013, including 879 that occurred while rushing to an emergency. Based on a model that researchers created to estimate the total number of miles police cars drive, the crash statistics revealed that police cars are close to two times more likely to crash when rushing to an accident scene, compared to when they are not in emergency mode. While other emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire trucks, are also involved in emergency-related accidents, the incidence of crashing in an emergency is no greater than during a non-emergency. This is likely because these vehicles are larger and more visible to other motorists, compared to police cars.
Researchers also suggest that there could be fewer police car accidents if other motorists were more proactive about moving to the side of the road when the police car’s flashing lights and sirens are active. Too many motorists either fail to move or are unsure about what they are supposed to do when a police car quickly approaches from behind. Several states have addressed this issue by including information in their highway safety campaigns that provide information about what to do when they see flashing lights and hear sirens.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Police Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a police car, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will investigate the details of the accident and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. Protecting your rights is our top priority. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.