Police officers can also become distracted drivers

Police officers can also become distracted drivers

Police officers can also become distracted drivers

When law enforcement officers are patrolling the nation’s roads, they have a responsibility to be on the lookout for any motorists who may be putting people in harm’s way due to irresponsible driving. Some of these individuals may be guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, while others could be paying more attention to their phone than the road.

Without the proper law enforcement training, however, officers themselves could be a danger to other drivers, as police cars come outfitted with a series of distractions. For example, while the average motorist may have access to a smartphone, police officers have an internet-enabled laptop computer mounted to their dashboard. In some cases, the technology present in police cruisers has become a problem.

Distracted officers
While many members of the police force are able to drive safely and operate the devices in their vehicle simultaneously, the same is not true of others. For example, NBC Nightly News recently reported that 17 percent of accidents in Minnesota involved distracted police officers. However, other states across the country have seen the rise of this problem as well.

“I think every officer if they’ve been on a certain period of time has maybe had that close call,” Seargent Travis Quella of Wisconsin’s Eau Claire Police Department, told WEAU 13 News. “And what we try to do is learn from them.”

Making the roads safer for everybody
The Eau Claire Police Department takes steps to ensure that its law enforcement officers know how to operate their vehicles without becoming too distracted by the computers, radios and dash cameras that are within reaching distance. Quella told the news source that members of the force are trained so they can properly multitask on the road. In some sessions, officers play out different scenarios.

“We’ll have a role player act as a dispatcher and give pertinent information, just at a time as a pedestrian is darting in between a car,” Quella said.

In addition to completing various training scenarios, officers are given rules as to when they are allowed to type on their mobile computers. Typically, they must either be going at a very slow speed or completely stopped altogether.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas, the city’s police department has gone one step further and completely banned typing while driving, NBC 5 KXAS reported. It is the police department’s hope that this ban will reduce the number of accidents that take place due to distracted driving.

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