Massachusetts residents likely are grateful for the services provided by the dedicated men and women who work as police officers. However, there are times when these same professionals inflict pain and suffering by causing serious car accidents — whether on- or off-duty. There have been may lives irrevocably changed through these tragic collisions.
According to the records, officers have been involved in approximately 1,800 wrecks during the past five year period. While numerous accidents can be blamed on other drivers, the officers are not without fault for many of them. The Massachusetts State Police have been liable for an estimated $3 million in damages during the past decade — the settlement total would likely be higher if not for caps placed on government negligence liability.
These accidents can be attributed, in part, to the high mileage totals that police officers rack up over a year. The average state police vehicle reportedly travels more than double the national average of civilian drivers at more than 22,000 annually. While there are multiple factors that contribute to the excessive numbers of wrecks — including bad weather and distractions from computers and radio communications — one major factor is that police officers speed, frequently. One state collected data on state police driving habits and determined that many exceed posted limits by more than 20 mph, both on- and off-duty.
Unless there is an effort to change the way Massachusetts State Police drive both on and off the clock, the high numbers of car accidents may continue unabated. Unfortunately, there will continue to be innocent victims caught up in the nightmare of both physical injuries and financial losses. Victims of automobile wrecks are entitled to pursue compensation for the monetary damages they sustain as a result of another driver’s negligent actions by way of personal injury litigation.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Police cruiser accidents leave a trail of battered vehicles, expensive lawsuits, painful injuries“, Todd Wallack, Oct. 5, 2014