According to 2010 statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Florida ranks fourth – only behind Texas, California, and Illinois – for the number of law enforcement fatalities. Nationwide, the rate of law enforcement fatalities rose 40% between 2009 and 2010. In some cases, fatalities occurred as a result of gun violence. For example, three police officers were killed by gunfire in Florida while making traffic stops.
However, Florida car accidents and traffic fatalities seem to contribute significantly to police fatalities. Out of 160 law enforcement deaths cross the country, 73 police officers lost their lives in traffic accidents and many more were seriously injured. According to experts, the reason for the high accident rate is because police officers are often asked to speed and make dangerous decisions behind the wheel of cruisers for public safety. For example, to stop a dangerous criminal, police may engage in a chase. Unfortunately, driving at high speeds can easily lead to accidents and can also harm bystanders.
According to driver experts, the increased number of distracted drivers and heavier traffic make car accidents more likely for everyone, especially for law enforcement professionals, who may significant amounts of time driving as part of their work. Some experts have even questioned whether the presence of computers in police cruisers is not contributing to accidents by distracting law enforcement officers.
Many driving trainers offering driving instruction to police officers and many departments across the country are instituting new rules about police chases in order to enhance public safety. However, in some cases, the danger to the public is greater than the danger of pursuing a suspect. In these cases, police are obligated to pursue a suspect, even if he or she uses dangerous driving and aggressive driving that makes the chase dangerous to police and the public alike.