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Many police deaths caused by traffic accidents

Being a police officer is dangerous. When you think of the ways that officers pass away on the job, you likely imagine shootouts and other such violent crimes. While these things certainly do happen, it's worth noting that many police deaths are simply from car crashes.

Take 2010, for example. Across the entire country, 160 police officers passed away during the year. A full 73 of those officers died in traffic accidents. While that's not quite a majority, it is a huge percentage when considering that it's almost as many as all other types of death combined.

For the sake of comparison, 59 officers were shot and killed on the job. It was more dangerous for officers to get in their cars than to worry about taking fire from criminals. That year, car wrecks were the biggest reason for fatalities on the force.

Why does this happen? One corporal was interviewed and he pointed to very typical causes, such as:

  • Traffic congestion.
  • Distracted drivers.
  • Busy intersections.
  • Other drivers being unaware that police cars are coming.
  • Computer use in police cars.

The officer also acknowledged that high-speed chases played a role. When police are legally breaking traffic laws, decisions have to be made very quickly. This can also put police officers in more danger when other drivers make mistakes -- like pulling out into an intersection instead of yielding the right of way.

When a police officer is seriously injured or killed in a car accident, it's important for that officer and/or the officer's family members to make sure they know their legal rights. The level of risk is very high, and things like hospital bills and funeral costs can be a burden during a very trying time for the family.

Source: NPR, "Traffic Accidents Leading Cause Of Police Deaths," Neal Conan, accessed Sep. 28, 2017

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