Law enforcement

NHTSA analyzes data on fatal crashes involving law enforcement

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Photo: jtgriffin07/iStockphoto

Washington — Fatal motor vehicle crashes among law enforcement officers are on course for their lowest total since the 1980s, according to an analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

Using the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted database (LEOKA), researchers determined that 178 fatal motor vehicle crashes from 2010 to 2015 involved law enforcement. That number puts the law enforcement community on course for 297 this decade, its fewest fatal crashes since 264 between 1980 and 1989 and a decrease from 415 from 2000 to 2009.

Other findings:

  • From 2010 to 2015, 31 law enforcement officers were killed in motorcycle crashes. That number was 67 between 2000 and 2009.
  • 48 law enforcement officers were struck and killed by other vehicles between 2010 and 2015. That number was 121 from 2000 to 2009.

Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, NHTSA researchers found that the average number of fatal crashes involving occupants in law enforcement vehicles remained relatively stable from 2013 to 2015. The agency, however, cautions that FARS data does not indicate whether the occupant killed was law enforcement personnel. The FARS data also doesn’t include law enforcement personnel killed in a non-work vehicle or as a pedestrian.

According to the data, fatal crashes involving collisions with fixed objects are at their highest rate for law enforcement in the four decades (42 percent). Fatal crashes with other vehicles from 2010 to 2015 are at their lowest rate (46 percent). It was 60 percent in the 1980s.

Fatalities involving rollovers are at 18 percent, a decrease from 31 percent in the previous decade. Law enforcement personnel were not wearing seat belts or other restraint systems in 46 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities in this decade. That number was 53 percent in the 1980s.

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