Government Fleet Top News

Chicago Spends Millions on Cop Car Accidents

June 13, 2007

CHICAGO, IL – In 2006, Chicago spent $7 million to settle lawsuits for police car accidents. According to records from the Department of Law, settlements for two police pursuit accidents in 2001 and 2003 accounted for $6 million of that money. The other million dollars worth of lawsuits are classified as being for “motor vehicle accidents” in general or for things such as hitting pedestrians or causing intersection accidents. Most of the accidents happened in 2005 and 2006.

Police departments are not required to track or report their police pursuit statistics, but Capt. Travis Yates, of the Tulsa Police Department, who is a certified law-enforcement driving instructor and a leading advocate of national police pursuit policy reform, has found that many police departments do.

“A department that’s not tracking pursuits is asking for trouble,” he said. “If we’re not tracking one of the most dangerous things we do, we’re just asking for lawyers to line up and come after us.”

A copy of the Chicago Police Department’s vehicle pursuit policy provided by the News Affairs office states that officers are required to pass an annual test showing they are familiar with the department’s procedures for motor vehicle pursuits. It does not mention a driver-training program.

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