Trooper Down

Over at the Boston Globe’s “Ideas” Section, I consider a recent spate of cases in which police were struck by cars as they conducted traffic stops.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at 7:57 pm and is filed under Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Trooper Down”

  1. Laurens de Jong Says:

    QUOTE: Flannagan says many police officers have resisted such garb. “Many police actually don’t want to be visible,” he says.

    Do you have more on that, or did Dr. Flannagan just throw that out there?

  2. Josh R Says:

    It does make sense that police officers might be somewhat resistant to the idea of wearing reflective garb. Getting into a gunfight is every officer’s nightmare, and the thought that a reflective vest might make it easier for a bad guy to shoot a cop certainly popped into my head when the vests were mentioned.

    One question of course is how often will a given officer be in gunfights vs being by the side of the road on a traffic stop. My guess would be that the latter will occur several hundred if not a thousand times between each instance of the former, but it will still be hard to sell “here, put this target on your chest” to cops.

    On a related note, I just got back from a road trip to the international school bus safety rodeo in St Louis, where I cheered my wife on in the events . Road tripping down there with four professional bus drivers, all of which have won awards for safe driving, was a very educational experience. Among the things I noticed was the precision way everybody driving always moved over into the left lane when there was a car parked on the shoulder. Even if it wasn’t an emergency vehicle, and even if it was well over, with nobody visible near it, they moved over if possible. If traffic didn’t permit them to shift lanes, then they were very aware and over as far as possible, slowing and attempting to get a clear space to move over or evade if needed. Even though there were over a dozen instances getting there and as many on the way back, each event was treated as carefully as if it was the first, which is how you drive safely. Never assume, never become complacent, always treat every situation no matter how familiar with careful consideration and your full attention.

  3. Opus the Poet Says:

    That ties in to a bike wreck in NC I have been following. 2 cyclists on the right side of the road, in single file, hit from behind by a driver that told LEO at the scene that she just wasn’t paying attention to the road. Result, one dead and the other facing months of rehab from a broken pelvis, and both bikes totaled. From what I have heard the car was disabled also and had to be towed away from the scene. I hope it was because LEO was seizing it as evidence rather than the fact it wasn’t drivable after the wreck.

  4. Jack Says:

    Thanks Tom for another well written and informative article. Whether distracted, drunk, etc., are all real but for the Average John or Jane Doe, the Invisible Gorilla demonstrates the “illusion of attention” as you state in the end.

    Noticed that driving on highways in IL recently that officers were filming what drivers were doing when passing a vehicle pulled over by the highway patrol.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

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