Many people believe in their hearts that they are good drivers, but as most individuals know, not everyone is. Even good drivers, though, have the potential to be in an auto accident. In fact, statistics show that the average driver will have to file an auto insurance claim once every 17.9 years. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are the result of distracted driving, and even worse, the best driver in the world can be in an accident caused by a negligent driver. Sadly, even police officers, who are supposed to protect the public, can be guilty of distracted driving.
Officers and Distracted Driving
There are a variety of distracted behaviors that drivers engage in, and unfortunately, this is just as true for police officers. A person need only consider how many times they’ve seen an officer typing into their computer or cell phone while going through traffic to recognize that police cruisers have the potential of being involved in accidents.
It’s an unfortunate truth, but one need not even look far to find an example of an officer of the law behaving negligently by engaging in distracted driving. In early Feb. 2013, for instance, a man filed a lawsuit against a Florida police department because a Tampa officer rear-ended him while allegedly reading a message on his computer. The police department admitted that the officer was inattentive at the time, but they failed to explain exactly what he was doing.
Laws geared towards Officers
People often dream of a perfect world where people in positions of authority, whether politicians or police, have to abide by the same laws that everyone else has to. Sadly, this isn’t always the case and people often find themselves with an injury in a car accident in Tampa and need a lawyer. A Texas police department just recently banned officers from typing on their computers while driving, and this type of law may have prevented the aforementioned accident in Florida. Unfortunately, it’s not against the law in the Sunshine State for police to engage in this behavior.
In fact, the Tampa Police Department advises police not to type on their computers or text while driving, but the department admits that officers are given discretion in this. This is especially troubling considering the fact that it’s illegal for everyone else in Florida to text while driving. Even more frustrating, police aren’t often, even when they’re at fault, given a citation for an accident. Instead, a letter is put into their file.
Distracted Driving Statistics
It can be incredibly disheartening to know that police don’t have to abide by the same distracted driving laws as everyone else, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t be held accountable for accidents they cause through these behaviors. Sadly, one only needs to look at distracted driving statistics to understand that, if police are allowed to engage in this usually illegal behavior, accidents involving police cruisers will continue to occur.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control state that nine people are killed due to this behavior every single day in the country. Another 1,060, or more, are injured due to distracted drivers on a daily basis. One would think that, when considering these statistics, officers would be more apt to avoid distracted driving. Alas, it appears this may not happen until the law decides to catch up.
Accident victims who are injured due to distracted drivers often face a difficult battle, but when it’s a police officer whose negligence led to these injuries, the whole situation can become even more disheartening. This is especially the case when the officer doesn’t even receive a citation. Fortunately, the lack of a citation doesn’t mean that the officer won’t be held accountable. With the right legal assistance, an accident victim, even those injured by cops, can receive fair compensation for their losses.
Melanie has always been interested in the laws that govern police officers. She advises people that if they suffered an injury in a car accident in Tampa and need a lawyer, they should make it a priority to speak to someone, no matter what position the other driver holds.