In the year 2007 alone, 424 people were killed in police car chases in the United States. And very few of these deaths were the people being pursued. That means every year, about 400 innocent drivers and passengers on the road are being killed.
Our firm’s car accident lawyers support the development of this technology because our only concern lies with the safety of all car drivers and passengers on the road. Emerging technology can soon slow down the speed on police car chases, literally, as well as prevent a whole lot of pain and suffering to come.
Here is how it works:
OnStar offers Stolen Vehicle Slowdown technology that can send a signal to a vehicle, restricting the car’s fuel supply and slowing it down to a mere 3-5 miles per hour. This technology is already existent in approximately 1 million 2009 GM cars, according to OnStar spokesman.
By applying OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown to certain vehicles as directed by the police, high-speed car chases would no longer exist. And therefore, the 424 wrongful deaths that happen every year would drastically decrease.
Another system being developed for police use is being tested by a Virginia Beach-based StarChase. Named the “Pursuit Management System,” it basically allows a police car to be equipped with a laser-guided launcher that fires a sticking projectile to a fleeing car. From there, the police can track the car by GPS and therefore, abandon the entire car chase. This system has already been tested by police in Columbus, Ohio and Suffolk County, New York. The LA Police Department is also currently testing this system, according to StarChase spokeswoman.
A criminology professor at the University of South Carolina states, “That kind of technology is exactly what we need. One of the most powerful tools the police have is to turn off their lights and siren because the pursued suspect will slow down.”
According to national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police and chief of the Pointe Park, MI police department, the OnStar technology is extremely effective. He says, “We have to engage in police chases. Any technology that assists us in preventing crashes is welcome.”
According to a mother of 15 year-old who was killed in a 2002 police chase, the OnStar technology raises hopes but is not a magic solution. She says, “The human element plays a far more integral part in chases than any technology. I hear the police saying ‘Our policy is restraint,’ but I don’t see them actually implementing it.”
She claims that many chased suspects are accused of petty shoplifting or minor traffic violations. She believes that the judgment of police is still most important, because she thinks police judgment was almost entirely absent in the case of her daughter’s wrongful death due to a car accident. Her daughter was killed by a teen driver who had taken her mother’s car for a joyride.
The car accident lawyers at our firm believe that both technology and judgment are essential. OnStar technology could drastically reduce the number of police car chases every year. But as Priano claims, police unfortunately sometimes lose their clear sense of judgment in the event of a car chase. Is immediately capturing that traffic violator or petty shoplifter worth the lives of many innocent people?
If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney and find out how we can help you. We look forward to providing good advice for your case. There is no fee if no recovery.