How Dangerous Are Police Chases?


In the movies, police chases are portrayed as exciting and suspenseful with filmgoers getting a front row seat to a path of destruction left behind a multi-car chase with the “perp” in the lead speeding past one police car after another weaving in and around traffic, blowing through stop lights and stop signs, and crashing into anything in the suspect’s way. 

In real life, however, there’s nothing entertaining about a high-speed car chase, and these reckless chases often end in motor vehicle accidents as well as serious injury and death. Innocent bystanders who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time are frequent victims. What makes death as a result of a police car chase so infuriating is that often the person being chased is suspected of committing a non-violent crime, like stealing a car or burglarizing someone’s home or business.

Too Many Lives Lost During Police Chases

As fatalities from police chases rise, many citizens are expressing great concern at the shocking numbers of police car chase deaths per year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 416 people were killed in police chases in 2017—the fourth consecutive year when the number of people killed during police pursuits increased. That number represents a 22% increase when compared to 2013, when 341 people were killed during a police car chase. 

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