A Missouri police officer has been suspended, with pay, for causing a car accident with a biker in Peculiar, Missouri. The incident highlights something that we have blogged about before in a workers’ compensation post: Police officers frequently drive while distracted.
Biker’s Helmet Camera Catches Car Accident With Cop
The entire episode was captured on the biker’s helmet camera.
The biker was stopped on 211th Street at its intersection with State Highway J. A northbound Ford Explorer, owned by the Peculiar Police Department and driven by patrolman Charles Wallace, slowed to take a left turn onto 211th Street. The officer, however, seemed oblivious to the biker’s presence on the road. Without veering or braking to avoid the collision, the cop slammed into the stationary and shouting biker.
The cyclist was not seriously hurt in the crash, and refused medical attention.
Police Department Tries to Blame Biker
The video of the accident circulated quickly and was picked up by KMBC 9, in Kansas City.
The Department’s response to the situation, however, was less than ideal: While they suspended the officer with pay for driving while distracted, they blamed the biker for being pulled up past the stop sign. They also said that the narrowness of 211th Street contributed to the crash.
Even if both of these claims are true, though, that does not absolve the officer for his role in causing the accident. It was abundantly clear from the video that he did not notice the cyclist until it was too late.
The Problem of Police Officers Driving While Distracted
We detailed the workers’ compensation aspect of police officers driving while distracted, back in January. Officers are required to use technology while on patrol—using laptops to run license plates and radar guns to check for speeders. They do all of this while looking for suspicious activity, and all of it happens while they drive on patrol.
That blog post focused on the hazardous work environment in put on police officers: 14 officers lost their lives in single-vehicle accidents in 2017.
But that is only half of the story. Distracted driving is not just dangerous for the person trying to multitask while behind the wheel: It is dangerous for anyone they happen to encounter on the roads. Distracted drivers are far less likely to notice a road hazard or upcoming crash, making it impossible for them to take the precautions necessary to avoid it.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The publicity that this incident has received is, in large part, because the distracted driver was a police officer. Crashes like these happen every day, though. When they do, the innocent victim is often left with serious injuries that require extensive and costly medical care.
If you or someone you love has been hit and hurt by a distracted driver, you need legal help. Call the personal injury and car accident attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph at (816) 875-9373 or contact us online.