A few months ago we discussed the lax driving policies of some Dallas-Fort Worth area police departments. Safety experts and investigators were concerned about police officers who operated their cruisers while talking on the radio, using a dashboard computer or paying attention to other distractions.
At the time, for example, the Arlington Police Department had no policy restricting the use of in-vehicle technology while driving, despite the city's ordinance barring civilians from texting while driving. The mayor said that Arlington officers had been involved in two or three minor car accidents involving distracted driving and that the city's officers were trained in preventing those crashes.
However, a subsequent investigation revealed that the city's officers have actually been involved in 18 such accidents in the past three years. In-vehicle footage shows officers using dashboard computers and other devices while running red lights, crashing through roadblocks and rear-ending other cars.
In response, the city's police chief is making changes to the department's written policies on distracted driving. The new policy will reiterate what officers are told in training: they must pull over if they need to type more than a one- or two-button response. In addition to building public trust in the department, this policy could help prevent dangerous crashes caused by preventable officer distraction.
If you or someone you love have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted or negligent driver, it is wise to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you investigate your case thoroughly, explore your legal options and pursue any appropriate claims for injuries or property damage.
Source: NBC 5, "Arlington Police Changing Driving Policy Following NBC 5 Investigation," Scott Friedman, Nov. 5, 2012