Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Distracted Driving A Problem For Cops Too

From the 'I am really surprised we don't see more of this' department there was a story over at The Atlantic Cities that looked at the distractions posed to police officers driving police cars with in car computer systems or mobile data terminals (MDT's) and the move by some agencies to reduce these distractions.
Police cars are increasingly being seen as mobile offices, where officers can log into databases, run vehicle registration and license numbers and even log into remote surveillance cameras. But of course, being able to do all this while driving kinda takes the safety out of public safety. And the potential distraction is growing.
Law enforcement driving is difficult enough. If you are a cop for any length of time you are going to get into an accident no matter how competent a driver you are. Driving in bad weather, horrible traffic and stressful situations as well as driving day in, day out for the work week will up your chances for a wreck.

Way back when I started in law enforcement as a young police officer, our department didn't have in car computer systems. We had a police radio, a controller for the lights and siren, and maybe if we were lucky a speed radar.  Now, the number of gadgets in a modern police car are staggering.

I was talking to another veteran cop recently and we both agreed we were fortunate to have spent our days in a patrol car back before they got this crowded with buttons, switches and LCD screens. I'm glad to see agencies starting to evaluate and minimize the number of distractions in patrol cars.


  1. Great article Scott.

    It's so true. Remember when you saw someone you thought looked shady, you investigated them? Now we just run the plate and if its clean we move on.

    We still have the same problem as the rest of citizens as well. Cell phones... while a great communication tool, we all now the distractions they pose. Some jurisdictions have banned the use of them in cars through legislation, but police also use them at the same time.

    1. Technology can be great but has to be used responsibly. Thanks for the comments.


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