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Police chiefs addressing issue of distracted driving by officers

Oct 9, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

A television news investigation in the summer of 2012 drew national attention to the issue of distracted driving among police officers. Members of an international group of police chiefs met in December 2012 in Louisiana to try to address the problem of police officers engaging in the very same behavior for which they issue citations to motorists. People should be aware of to what extent distracted driving plagues police forces and how police leaders are trying to reduce distracted driving among their forces.

Police officers driving distracted

The nature of police work seems to lend itself to officers being distracted while driving. Many police cars have dashboard-mounted computers, and officers often type while driving. Police officers also operate two-way radios, have department-issued smartphones, and monitor in-vehicle cameras.

Officers often need to communicate important information to dispatchers and other officers and may not realize how the multi-tasking behind the wheel impacts their driving abilities. Police officers are just as susceptible to auto accidents as other drivers. Police officers who type on computers or smartphones while driving also lose credibility with the public because police are the ones telling other drivers not to engage in that very behavior.

Police chiefs mulling guidelines

Currently, the International Association of Chiefs of Police does not have policy guidelines in place to direct police forces on safe driving procedures in the course of police work. The superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and the head of IACP’s division of state police called a meeting of a small number of IACP member state police commanders in Louisiana to begin developing policies and training programs.

The group admits that they are in the very early stages of the process, but plans to meet again in March 2013. They want to show that the IACP has taken a strong stance against distracted driving among police officers by having recommendations for police chiefs across the country after the March meeting so the chiefs have a framework to begin addressing the issue.

Talk to a lawyer

Distracted driving is dangerous behavior, no matter if it is a police officer or average citizen doing it. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, speak with an attorney with a proven record success in such cases. An attorney can help you obtain the compensation you need to help you with the expenses associated with recovering from your injuries.

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