LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
Motor vehicle-related incidents are a leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for law enforcement officers in the United States – they are also preventable.1 From 2011-2020, 454 officers died due to motor vehicle related incidents (struck by and crashes) – 33% of all line-of-duty deaths (excluding COVID-19 deaths)2. It is important to promote motor vehicle safety among officers so they can stay safe while working to make communities safer.
What job hazards do law enforcement officers face?
There are more than 750,000 state and local (excluding federal) law enforcement officers.2 These officers face many job hazards, including: physical exertion, psychological and organizational stressors, and health issues. Some behavior-related hazards that put officers at risk of a crash on the job are:
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Speeding, particularly through intersections
- Being distracted while using a mobile data terminal or other in-care electronics
- Experiencing tunnel vision from increased stress
Officer Struck While Assisting with Temporary Traffic Control on an Interstate, Texas
Read the injury prevention recommendations to keep police officers and first responders safe while working on highways. (Report) and (Report Slides)
What do we know about law enforcement officer crashes?
In the last 10 years, on average, an officer per week has been killed on our nation’s roads (2011-2020 = 50 deaths per year).1 Most years, motor vehicle-related incidents — including crashes and being struck by moving vehicles while on foot — are the main cause of death for officers. 2016 was an anomaly in that motor vehicle-related deaths came second to firearms. Since 2016, homicides have been leading cause of death.
From 2011-2020, excluding COVID-19 deaths:1
- 1,387 officer line-of-duty deaths
- 286 officer line-of-duty deaths due to vehicle crashes (21% of total)
- 114 officer line-of-duty deaths due to being struck by a vehicle (8% of total)
1National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund . Causes of law enforcement deaths
2National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
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