While law enforcement is inherently dangerous, officers are often at greatest risk while they are behind the wheel. In fact, they are an incredible four times more likely to be involved in a crash than a civilian driver. In this course, we examine traffic safety issues for law enforcement officers. We’ll start by taking a look a the figures – over 1,500 officers died in traffic-related accidents between 1982-2008, and traffic accidents are now the #1 cause of line of duty police fatalities. Next, we’ll develop the profile of a typical law enforcement accident. If you get into an accident, it will likely:
- Be in an urban area
- Involve moving vehicles
- Take place on a straight road
- Occur at night (if you are in a car) or in the day (if you are on a motorcycle)
- Take place in good weather
After we deconstruct the figures and expand on this profile, we’ll take a look at research on the main causes of traffic accidents. Based on both police and civilian data, we’ve identified five factors cause the majority of officer-involved traffic accidents:
- Competence Bias
We’ll explore each of these factors and connect them to law enforcement behaviors. Finally, we’ll identify solutions to help mitigate the causes of accidents. From common sense observations – Slow down! and Get enough sleep! – to policy suggestions such as behavioral screening and psychological reminders about competence bias, we’ll highlight ways you and your department can avoid crashes and increase safety rates.
Driving is inherently dangerous, and no amount of information, training, or consideration will completely eliminate officer-involved accidents. Employing the simple solutions outlined in this course, however, will help you stay safe and decrease your chances of being involved in a serious accident. For a professional who spends a significant amount of time in a vehicle, even a small decrease in accident odds is a huge accomplishment, and this course gives you the data you need to protect yourself on the road.