If you work to make your income, then workers’ compensation impacts your life. It is a layer of protection to keep you financially stable, should you get hurt while on the job. This is especially true if you work in an occupation that has high injury rates.
One of these high-risk occupations is a police officer. Cops are supposed to confront danger, so it is not surprising that they get hurt on the job all the time. However, a recent news report suggests that the nature of their job drastically increases the likelihood that they get hurt in a car accident by forcing them to drive while distracted.
Police Officers Have High Rate of Workers’ Compensation Claims
It is a surprise to no one that police officers have a dangerous job. However, their job is so dangerous that police officers often have the highest rate of workers’ compensation claims, out of all occupations.
New Report Suggests Districted Driving Creates Dangerous Work Environment
A recent news article in Chicago’s Daily Herald investigated an often-overlooked aspect of a police officer’s job: Driving on patrol. When police officers drive patrol, they are the worst definition of a distracted driver – running license plates on a laptop computer, checking for speeders and suspicious pedestrians, and monitoring dozens of devices.
Some might claim that police officers are used to the distractions, or that they can multitask better than the average driver. However, cops are human beings, just like the rest of us.
Statistics of single vehicle car accidents involving police cruisers back this up.
Single Vehicle Car Accidents Involving Police Increases
According to the 2017 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report, out of the 128 police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2017, 47 were killed in traffic-related incidents. Out of these 47, though, car accidents involving only a single vehicle – the police officer’s cruiser – was the most common. 14 cops lost their lives in single vehicle crashes. This amounted to 42% of the total deaths from traffic accidents. It was also a 27% increase from last year’s total of 11.
Distracted Driving Makes for a Hazardous Work Environment
To do their job correctly, though, police officers need to drive patrol, and need to monitor numerous devices and keep an eye out for crime while driving. This is the definition of an unsafe workplace.
Worse, the solution is simple: Having multiple officers in the cruiser lets one focus on driving, while the other handles everything else. However, police departments are increasingly moving away from this answer because it reduces the number of cruisers they can put on the road, increasing the cost of enforcing the law.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Forcing police officers to drive while distracted leads to car accidents, injuries, and workers’ compensation claims. Until this problem is fixed, police officers should not be the ones to bear the burden: They deserve to be compensated for injuries suffered while on the job.