The Dangers of Vehicle Pursuits: New Emerging Issues

As long as crime has existed, criminals have been attempting to elude justice. The invention of the automobile gave criminals one more way to attempt to escape the grasp of law enforcement. While the use of motor vehicles by criminals is widespread, one could assume that vehicle pursuits have become safer for officers over time. Improvements in vehicle safety technology have made cars more maneuverable and safe, increasing the likelihood of surviving a high-speed crash. Advances in emergency trauma medicine have also increased the survival rate of traffic crash victims. Today, most law enforcement agencies have policies limiting the circumstances under which a vehicle pursuit may occur, how it will be monitored by management, and when it will be called off to avoid undue risks to the officers and the public. Police pursuit training has become more extensive and realistic, involving intense computer simulations and hands-on practice with real vehicles. Finally, anti-pursuit technologies have become common, such as devices used to deflate the tires of suspects’ vehicles.