NIOSH Investigates Motor-vehicle Safety among Law Enforcement Officers

In November, NIOSH published findings from an agency-sponsored survey that studied motor-vehicle operations and crashes among law enforcement officers. The survey was conducted in Iowa from September to December 2011 and included a random sample of 60 law enforcement agencies and nearly 1,500 sworn officers. 

Survey results revealed that most agencies had a written motor-vehicle policy; however, only 66 percent of officers received formal training on the policy, with less than half of the officers from small agencies receiving formal training on motor-vehicle policies. Statewide, 29 percent of officers—and only eight percent of those working in small agencies—reported receiving annual motor-vehicle training. Just over a third of those who reported having annual motor-vehicle training had any type of hands-on training, such as a pursuit-driving course. Finally, 81 percent of officers reported always wearing a seatbelt while operating a patrol car and 77 percent reported using a seatbelt while riding as a passenger on-duty, though those findings differed by type of agency.

The report recommends that law enforcement agencies develop state-based training programs to assess the consistency and effectiveness of motor-vehicle training efforts. NIOSH also recommends that agencies strive to get 100 percent of officers wearing seatbelts by implementing policies and supporting officers’ use of seatbelts. 
View the report on the NIOSH website.
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