Police chases are a staple of movies and a semi-common occurrence in real life, something most people have watched on the news at night — if they haven’t seen one in person. When a driver decides to run, we expect the police to flip on the lights and the siren and give chase.
But should they? Or is doing so just too dangerous?
After all, in the modern world of packed highways and powerful engines, car crashes are already a leading killer in the United States. If the police start a chase that gets out of control, are they just making a devastating wreck more likely?
Some departments have stopped engaging in police chases. Others are reviewing their policies. Studies have found that a lot of fatalities happen in police chases, and they’re trying to figure out how to approach them.
After all, others can get injured or killed who had nothing to do with the chase. It’s not just the alleged criminal and the officer who are in danger. If those cars blow through a red light at 80 miles per hour and hit the side of a minivan with a family inside, it’s suddenly very hard to argue that the traffic stop was worth it.
The problem, of course, is that the police do not want to let offenders escape. If they publicly said they would no longer give chase, would more people run? It’s a complicated issue.
What is clear is that it is dangerous. The statistics do not lie. If you get injured in an accident or lose a loved one, make sure you know what rights you have.