Officers Are Also Distracted While Behind The Wheel, Study Suggests

Post On 11-13-2014

Drivers continue to drive while distracted not only because of their cell phone use, but also because of other types of distractions that actually lead to serious auto accidents.

While teens and inexperienced drivers are more likely impacted by distractions, drivers of all age groups end up being exposed to the risks. Now, safety advocates are concerned about the risks that distracted police officers are exposing to civilian drivers.

According to many experts looking into the matter, officers are using too many gadgets while driving their squad cars, increasing thus the risk of distracted driving accidents directly linked to the use of said technologies. The reports indicate that, in some areas of the United States, average drivers are not the only ones responsible for distracted driving accidents; police officers are often the offenders.

A former Los Angeles County deputy who is now a professor at the Spokane’s Washington State University has been looking into the distracted driving accidents involving police officers in the last four years in order to finish a study into the matter. This is the first-of-its-kind study performed by a scholar that involves data pertaining to distracted driving accidents caused by police officers nationwide.

According to the several hours of police squad car videos and crash data, which has been gathered since 2010, half of the crashes involving a distracted police officer also involved cell phone or computer use. Other distractions were also noted, such as taking the eyes off the road to perform an activity related to their work or simply looking at vehicles that seem suspicious or even looking for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts.

The professor behind the study has noted that the presence of so many technological gadgets makes distractions occur more often than they should, causing officers who are trained to enforce distracted driving laws to be the ones exposing others to the risk.

According to official data, the average motorist drivers much less often than the average police officer. While the number of distracted driving-related traffic accidents among officers is not as high as the number of distracted driving accidents caused by average drivers, the risk should not be ignored.

It’s still early to know what kind of solutions police departments across the country will embrace to ensure their officers are not exposing others to risks, however, safety advocates are urging officers to make sure that they are following their own advice when it comes to distracted driving.

For more on the study and the risks, follow this link for the full article.