Law enforcement also guilty of distracted driving
There has been much attention paid to the serious problem of distracted driving by teenagers and adults in general, but now it appears that another aspect of this problem may be even more serious. Police and distracted driving has become all too common a headline, especially in the state of Texas.
The police department in Austin, TX, recently established a new policy for officers after a very serious car crash occurred when a city police officer hit and severely injured a motorcyclist while the officer was typing on a dashboard computer. Under the new policy, police officers need to be up-to-date with pertinent information and to facilitate this, patrol cars are now outfitted with dashboard-mounted computers in addition to two-way radios and smartphones.
If an officer is typing on the computer, or using any of the other communication devices, it takes their attention away from driving for critical seconds during which accidents occur. In a recent 24-month period in Texas, over 70 accidents were reported that involved distracted driving by police officers.
To combat this problem, many police departments have issued new policies that demand that police officers must pull over to use their computers if more than one keystroke is required to indicate limited certain status reports, such as when the officer is responding to a call, is en route or clearing a scene.
Distracted driving is similar to driving while intoxicated, yet many police departments nationwide have not instituted rules about texting, typing or driving while using other communication devices. Those devices have become an important aid to police work and are necessary. Unfortunately, some police officers have been seen texting, typing or using cell phones in cities where civilians are prohibited from the same behavior.
The results of distracted driving are the same nationwide: accidents occur, innocent persons are injured and there can be great property damage or even fatalities. The solution is to find a balance between modern technology use and safety.
Source: nbcdfw.com, “Distractions Lead to Frequent Police Crashes in Texas,” Scott Friedman