Dallas, TX (Press Release)—It is widely believed that police officers are killed more often by altercations with suspects, gunshots, and other criminal activities, when in fact more officers are killed in line-of duty car crashes while not wearing their seat belts. Amy K. Witherite, a prominent Dallas, Texas automobile accident lawyer reports, police officers believe that seat belts could become a problem when trying to exit the cruiser at a seconds notice, or when they is unruly suspect in the backseat, but do not stop to think what could happen if they were involved in a crash, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
Data provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) http://www.ntsb.gov/ revealed that across the United States at least 64 police officers have died from 2004 to 2008; with 40-percent of those officers who sustained fatal injures were not wearing their seat belts during that time period. In Texas alone, five out of 13 officers who were killed during an automobile crash in 2007 were unbuckled at the time. Over the past three years, 18 Texas police officers were killed in car and motorcycle crashes, while only 16 officers were killed by gunshots. A 2006 informal study in the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection and Critical Care, they study the popular syndicated COPS television series, in which they found that officer buckle up less than 40 percent of the time, with 20 percent of the officers killed between 1997 and 2001 were not wearing their seatbelts. An analyst for the Internal Association of Chiefs of Police estimated that about one third of officers fail to fasten their seatbelt.
Although some states provide exemptions for officers, which allow them to go without their seatbelts in emergency situations, Texas police officials are required to follow the seatbelt laws. Many officers believe that the seat belts get in the way when trying to quickly exit their vehicle to confront a suspect, or respond to an emergency situation, without weighing out the outcomes if they were involved in serious collision. Police officers state that the seat belt can get caught on their holster, which can cause them vital seconds when responding to an emergency situation or trying to control a rowdy suspect in the back of the cruiser.
Leading automobile accident litigation attorney, Amy K. Witherite, states, “Deaths among Texas’ brave police officers who are killed in the line-of-duty could have been prevented if their seatbelts were properly fastened. Although officers must respond to an emergency situation in a seconds notice, it is imperative that they buckle up incase of serious automobile collision when responding to calls.”
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of another driver’s carelessness you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Contacting a Dallas automobile accident lawyer who is experienced in litigating accident claims may help you recover damages you deserve.
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