Last year, police pursuits caused more than 900 injuries and 33 deaths in California, this after the state had instituted new rules about pursuits. But some say those regulations don’t go far enough, and that pursuits should be called off in all but the most serious of situations.
According to msnbc.com, police pursuit crashes kill about 30 bystanders every six weeks in the U.S. Other cities and states have passed laws only allowing pursuits in serious cases, when the subject is wanted in connection with a felony, for instance.
In California, however, the same can’t be said. Statewide, pursuits are still allowed for even speeding infractions. However, cities like Los Angeles have set their own restrictions, not allowing police to pursue for traffic infractions.
Assistant Police Commissioner Ramona Prieto says the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has instituted several different practices over the years to minimize the risks of accidents during pursuits. By using spike strips and defensive driving techniques, she says, cops can sometimes stop a pursuit before it even starts.
But these methods aren’t always used and the dangers of a police pursuit are still very real. Just last week a police chase ended in the death of two women and injuries of three others when a suspect, wanted for drunk driving, led police on a chase that eventually ended when he crashed into a taco truck.
Was the loss of life worth the drunk driving stop? Would the suspect have went on to cause an accident anyways due to his intoxication, regardless of the police chase? While it’s not likely, you can’t convince the CHP that police chases do more harm than good. They see them as a crucial part of their enforcement techniques and rely on training to make them safer rather than consider doing away with them altogether.
One of several groups opposed to current pursuit practices is developing a legislative committee at both the state and federal levels, looking for changes in how pursuits are conducted and how agencies gather information about them. The group, Voices Insisting on Pursuit Safety would also like to see penalties increased for those who flee police.
Because of the current policies in California, if you flee you will get caught. They won’t call off the pursuit because of high rates of speed or because you are only wanted for a misdemeanor. So, if you flee, you should be aware that it will only make the outcome worse.
Whether you have an active warrant or if you were pulled over for DUI, we may be able to help. Outrunning the law simply isn’t likely, and facing them with an advocate on your side is often the best course of action.
Contact our offices today to discuss your case and what can be done.