By on September 25, 2017

2017-ford-police-interceptor-utility-1lb

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you might recall the incident nearly four years ago when your humble author managed to collect a Hyundai Sonata in the B-pillar. Both I and the woman in the front passenger seat were nontrivially injured in the crash, but the months and years of pain and surgery afterwards were made considerably easier to bear by the fact that my son, who was sitting in the right rear seat, escaped injury. I cannot tell you what I would have done or how I would have felt if he had been injured or killed.

Five months ago, a woman in Albuquerque made a left-hand turn across a busy urban intersection. As she did so, her Ford Escape was struck by a police car traveling at nearly 70 miles per hour. The six-year-old boy in the right rear seat was killed.

After a comprehensive investigation, the county sheriff has recommended that no charges be filed against either the driver of the Ford Escape or the officer who struck the vehicle. Their rationale for that recommendation is easy to see and there’s no reason to Monday-morning quarterback a crash with a result this tragic. We should, however, be talking about the circumstances that made that crash not only possible but likely.


In 2012, I suggested that police cars be governed to a safe and legal speed. My concern at the time was with reckless behavior on the part of police, particularly with regards to speed enforcement. If you’ve ever been buzzed by a state trooper doing 110 mph to catch a “danger to society” who is doing 85, you’ll have an idea of why I don’t think we need those dangerous, risky interactions between police and civilian vehicles on America’s freeways.

In the case of this Albuquerque incident, however, the officer wasn’t displaying his narcissism or his addiction to personal power. Rather, he was making the maximum possible speed to respond to a situation where a “teen” was threatening employees at a grocery store with a machete. That’s the kind of situation where you’d like police to show up as quickly as possible, although here in concealed-carry-crazy Ohio I suspect anybody who waved a machete around at my local Kroger would be the recipient of more incoming ordnance than the HMS Hood within seconds.

I think that Keisean Anderson, the machete-waver in question, should have manslaughter added to his remarkably short and mild list of charges. Regardless of that fellow’s eventual disposition, however, the fact remains that police do occasionally have a need to respond quickly to violent situations. So how do you handle this? Do you make them slow down for every intersection, the way I’ve seen ambulances do in Texas and other Southwest states? Do you limit their permissible speed to a multiple of the speed limit, which in this case was 40 mph?

Furthermore, how much duty does a citizen have to look down the road before making a left turn? If the speed limit is 40 mph, should she look down just far enough to ensure that there is no 40 mph traffic heading her way? 60 mph traffic? 70 mph traffic? Why didn’t she see the lights and hear the sirens? The officer in question had both activated.

I’ve argued on this site before that passive safety, not driver training, is what truly saves lives on American roads. After reading about this incident, however, I have to wonder a bit about that. We don’t need to turn everyday drivers into Nico Rosberg or Sebastian Vettel. We just need to educate them in the proper use of vision. Keeping your eyes high and alert will make it possible for you to see things like a police car approaching nearly twice as quickly as you might expect. And it will save you from ever having to mourn the avoidable death of a child. I was almost in that situation and I can tell you from experience. There is nothing worse.

Take a moment to look around before you make a choice on the road. The life you save might not be your own. It might be more important than that.

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68 Comments on “No Charges for Either Party in Police Crash That Killed a Six-year-old Child...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    If you’re passing through an intersection — especially a familiar one — your mind is going to be trained to look for traffic going the normal speed you’d expect there. An oncoming car doing nearly twice the limit could easily go unnoticed until it’s too late. Sirens are susceptible to the Doppler effect and lights, honestly, can blend into cluttered backgrounds very easily.

    This is a nightmare scenario, honestly. But I would love to see police slow down to the speed limit in intersections, then resume the high speed after they pass through. That’s usually what I see in practice (for a green light) or, if a red light, slowing to a crawl, blipping the siren a couple times, then proceeding.

    An officer is no use to anyone if s/he just had an accident. And killing innocent bystanders is never a good policy.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “If you’re passing through an intersection — especially a familiar one — your mind is going to be trained to look for traffic going the normal speed you’d expect there.”

      I have a point and a counterpoint.

      Yes, this describes a lot of drivers’ thought processes (conscious and subconscious), for better or for worse.

      Here is the problem for anyone who drives with that mindset: what you describe is precisely the opposite of defensive driving. That is, assuming the “other guy” will always drive in a predictable, unremarkable manner.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        Great point. There’s a reason most accidents happen “within 5 miles of home” as our moms always told us. Complacency.

        My late grandfather always said “Drive as if everyone else is trying to kill you” (which wasn’t hard to imagine in his last car, a Mazda 323 hatchback).

        Some people are so defensive, it’s indecisive, which comes with its own set of problems — but on the whole, it’s definitely the safer of the two paths.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          I’ve never really subscribed to the idea that everybody is out to kill you, rather I try to drive two steps ahead.

          Which requires I think an increased degree of situational awareness since you have to take in the environment around much further away and you have to anticipate and plan not just for the cars at the top of your windshield but people moving up from behind ( will they ride your bumper or pass on the left or the right? What’s the traffic like to each side?)

          It all comes under the purview of defensive driving but it just seems to me driving like everybody is out to kill you predispose’s a person to angry or fearful behavior behind the wheel.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            As anyone on a motorbike quickly figures out, “everyone else” is simply too stupid to even know the difference between driving properly and trying to kill you. And, on the rare occasion that someone is able to figure it out, he/she is too incompetent to be able to act on that insight.

            Drive accordingly.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “rather I try to drive two steps ahead.”

            Yup- and I shouldn’t let it bother me (but it does) when I’m around people who are zero steps ahead doing things like coming to a complete stop at a right-turn yield with no one else around. It’s OK to look for traffic *before* you get to the sign!!

        • 0 avatar
          srh

          Most accidents happen with ‘n’ miles of home, because the preponderance of trips are within ‘n’ miles of home.

          • 0 avatar
            ash78

            Correct, but accident rates in your local area are higher than when traveling. I’ll see if I can find a link to it, it attributed it to a false sense of security, familiarity, and repetition.

  • avatar
    Rasputin

    Amen. My daughter was in a critical medical situation for a few days. She is fine now, but the agony I was in has affected my life to this day. Pay attention out there, friends. I don’t care how good a driver you think you are, it is easy to get caught up in the actions of others.
    And do not even think about that phone! Put it in the trunk for the trip.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    I agree it’s a big problem. We actually have had a debate where I live, where the city police chief set guidelines for officers to not perform chases in certain situations in the interest of the safety of the driving public. But the city common council has actually taken legal action to force him to write new guidelines allowing more chases in the interest of limiting activity by rolling drug dealers. Things got pretty tense between them and there certainly aren’t any easy or obvious solutions.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Albuquerque also has a predilection against honking horns, and the turn signal means, “I started changing lanes a while ago.”

    I remember driving down Central Avenue, which is the main drag, rolling along with a group of cars at 40 mph, bouncing off the giant grooves in the road, and a teenage boy went running through the cars with a side of beef from a grocery store. A few seconds later, out came a bloody-aproned butcher with his cleaver up after the boy – zip, straight through the cars.

    The police at the time talked about their fleet of Z-28 Camaros and how they liked to use them to run down speeders.

    All of this is to say – it’s a wild place. You might think the heat makes people go crazy, but Phoenix is a lot worse for heat.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    I have found increasingly is the “I stopped, you need to brake so you don’t hit,me” approach to turning. Much different from how I was taught. If you can’t pull out and get to speed without impeding the other car, DON”T!

  • avatar
    33873

    I agree with passive safety. I routinely see traffic lights turn green and the first driver in front of me just enters the intersection without looking to make sure that other cars are going to stop. Many side impact crashes and deaths could be avoided by just looking before you go – passive safety.

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      I agree. For most people though, it takes the experience of an accident to make a more alert driver. I’ve been hit by so many red light runners that I begin to shake whenever I drive through a green light.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Scooter license at 12. Mandatory 2 years and 10,000 miles before you can get small MC license (freeway legal). 2 years and 20,000 miles. Then unrestricted motorbike for 1 year and 10,000 miles. Then light (<3000lbs) car. 2 years, 30,000 miles. Then unrestricted license….

        Should go some ways towards either improving awareness, or culling the improvable before they get to do too much damage…..

        Individual cops should be on motorbikes outside of winter, period. Faster to respond to a situation, and much less risk of thorny issue like this. And anyone too incompetent and/or queasy to ride a bike, shouldn't be a cop to begin with.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          So everyone needs to purchase a scooter, then a motorcycle, then an automobile to meet your requirements? Even if they are useless for their transportation needs? And what about people who are partially disabled, yet perfectly able to drive an automobile with special aids but completely incapable of handling a two wheeled vehicle? And what does riding a motorcycle have to do with driving a car, anyway? You’re presuming that it’s easier.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Riding a bike is harder. Like walking upright vs crawling….

            Everyone who has ridden a bike in traffic, even ridden a bicycle, for any amount of miles, is either dead, or well above average motorist level at paying attention, driving defensively and otherwise doing the things that make them safer drivers.

            Young drivers are the ones who statistically have the most accidents. Much better they get through their accident years driving vehicles that maximally limit the damage they can cause innocent others. The added vulnerability of being on a bike, help compensate for the feeling of invincibility associated with young age and testosterone.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I have decent hearing, and I’ve found that sirens often reverberate like shots in Dealey Plaza – you can’t tell where they are coming from.

    Similarly, flashing lights are sometimes obscured by other vehicles – particularly in daylight – and may not be effective.

    Sounds like this was a tragic accident. As for “machete boy”, I doubt adding charges related to this accident would actually stick.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the “throw the book at them” mentality of the state that I’ve seen grow popular in the last decade or so. It’s resulted in a violation of the concept of equal protection under the law. Someone could have brandished a weapon elsewhere, and had the same terroristic effect but just because a responding police officer had not accidentally killed someone gotten off with the standard sentence.

  • avatar
    volvo

    All interesting points. Questions that remain for me.

    1. Do police officers in this city undergo and maintain competency in high speed driving and evasive maneuvers? I am sure they need to maintain competency for their firearms.

    2. There is a link to an article in the local paper (albuquerque journal) that discusses this tragic incident from another perspective. Here it is.

    https://www.abqjournal.com/1001674/apd-officer-in-crash-that-killed-6-year-old-had-been-disciplined-6-times-for-traffic-incidents.html?utm_source=abqjournal.com&utm_medium=abqjournal%20oembed|1001674&utm_campaign=abqjournal%20oembed

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Thanks for the link! This officer’s driving record suggests that he should be reassigned to foot patrol or the jail (the traditional dumping ground for “bad” cops). Hitting a stop sign?! Rear-ending another police car?! With that kind of record, this guy shouldn’t be licensed to drive in contravention of traffic regulations.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As an older (63) experienced driver, I work on not letting complacence work into my driving habits. The old “I’ve been driving for 47 years without an at fault ” doesn’t translate into “good driver”

    I drive everyday, mostly in the urban environment. I’m a long ways from a perfect driver, I have made the odd mistake that doesn’t involve bent metal..Even with millions of miles on my personal Odometer, I treat mistakes as learning tools.

    I try to focus on defence, while avoiding indecision..It is a fine balance.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Ill just chime in with one observation. Police nowdays more frequently use large SUV’s (Tahoe, Explorer). I don’t particularly understand the “NEED” for such large, heavy police cruisers but if you are going add full sized pickup trucks to the mix like the F150 maybe something needs to change sooner than later. If police are going to be patrolling the streets in these land barges perhaps they should be governor limited or at least have a policy in place that THOSE vehicles are not to engage in high speed pursuits.

    Then again, the Crown Vic and even the Charger are not nimble light weights either. I just find it ridiculous that police are chasing people that they have no reason to believe are violent offenders so often. This is the police mentality that the recent story about lawfully passing a police cruiser resulted in a 1 mph over the limit ticket for having “the balls to pass me”. Not only that, but after the adrenaline of a chase you can often find some brutality at the finish line, needlessly.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Cops should be on motorbikes. Much, much quicker through traffic than any car. And much less likely to result in situations like this. Leave the 5000lbs cars for Minnesota winters and special need situations. Not just for transporting some dude around.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      From the picture in the article linked above the police car looks be have been a Charger. It did have a light bar on the roof. I’ve been troubled by the number of police vehicles, especially the SUVs, that omit the light bar, relying instead by strobes in the grillwork and interior lights at the top of the windshield.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I spent a decent amount of time driving an ambulance in rural and urban environments.

    We had a ‘stop at every red light’ policy and a no more than 10 over the speed of traffic (~20 mph over posted).

    I almost always adhered to those as frequently the minute or two saved both has no impact on patient outcome and isn’t worth the incremental risk.

    Some times, however, you just gotta go as fast as you can. A child stops breathing, gets hit by a car and is choking on his own blood and the only person with a trach kit is 8 miles away, etc. We only had a few real intersections to clear and the Gods seemed to keep those lights green when we really needed it, but the speed restriction went bye bye. I don’t think I was playing god, but the law required I drive reasonably and prudently in light of the circumstances. Those handful of times where seconds really mattered were the only times I got close to the line.

    We actually had one ambulance that didn’t have a governor and the 7.3 powerstroke could push it well north of 100. It wasn’t fun or enjoyable, but that extra bit of speed probably helped a kid go to the hospital instead of the morgue.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Good points. So here’s a thought experiment: in a police situation (unlike an ambulance) how often is the travel time saved by exceeding the limits you had to deal with going to materially affect the outcome of the situation for the better? Speed limits in urban and suburban areas are not that arbitrary; they reflect, among other things, sight lines. The victim here may simply not have had a long enough sight line to see an oncoming vehicle at 70 mph. And, I would suggest that neither lights nor sirens give adequate warning of a vehicle traveling that fast.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “sight line”?

        True I’m guilty of only waiting until I have a “sight line” of around 150 feet in urban 35 or 40 mph zones, instead of to infinity, which might take a half a second longer. I mean as long I hit the gas promptly, what could go wrong…? Plenty!

        Making a right-turn from a parking lot, I’ve almost been rear ended by speeders 20 mph over the limit. I actually did the same thing this lady did, (except no contact) in front of a cop doing 2X the limit, he had to stand on his brakes, but it was an unmarked Crown Vic with NO emergency lights ON, at dusk and with his headlights off.

  • avatar
    don1967

    65-ish in a 40 zone with lights & sirens ablaze doesn’t sound like an excessive amount of cop hoonery, assuming there was legitimate urgency to the call.

    The left-turning mother in all probability deserves to be charged for her momentary lapse of attention, but having already paid such a horrible price it would seem inhuman to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      This incident is well covered in the Albuquerque newspaper. The articles are worth the read.

      According to one of the articles the accident investigators said that collected data showed the speed of the police car was near 80 mph but that the police car slowed and was traveling 67 MPH when it impacted the other car.

      I would imagine that with all of the recorders on modern cars that information released by the police department is pretty accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      It happened at the intersection of Eubank Blvd and Indian School Rd, Eubank is 6 lanes + turn lane, the other is 4 lane + turn lane. Both vehicles were on Eubank, she was southbound and turning left, he was northbound. She probably had a complicated view of on-coming traffic, especially if cars were quickly moving to the right to clear the way for the emergency vehicle. Given that he was reported to have emergency braked down from 80 mph to just shy of 70 when he struck her in what was clearly a complex highway situation, IMHO, the officer was going much too fast for conditions. From the picture of the Escape, it’s a miracle that anyone in it survived.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Why didn’t she see the lights and hear the sirens? The officer in question had both activated…

    Been driving for over 30 years. I have found that all cars have become more sound isolated as the years have ticked by and outside noise is harder and harder to hear in general.

    Now why she didn’t see the lights, we will never know.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Sirens are useless now. The most effective and visible warning, the simple head light flasher, doesn’t work on some 2011-2015 explorers and new chargers.

      Most departments have epilepsy inducing patterns that minimize warning effectiveness for completely useless flash patterns.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I would have to agree that sirens are not effective anymore, at least to other car drivers. So many drivers either have their radios turned up loud or are wearing headphones while driving, I’m surprised there aren’t more incidents.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        I was going to chime in on this as well, but add that I don’t find the lights all that useful either. I always hear the sirens first and when I do it takes a 360 and sometimes 720 visual check to find the source. Maybe I have some physical limitation with my eyes or my processing, but like the children of Lake Woebegon I am pretty sure I am above average, at least at paying attention. This is usually the last thing I would consider, but perhaps there is a technological solution. In this case possibly a brake only version of autopilot in the police vehicle could have seen the turning vehicle and slowed down enough to make the accident survivable.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      I just noticed this last week when I jumped 22 years in time between my old car and my new car. Windows up, you really have to pay attention to pick up far away sirens that you could hear on my old 90’s car.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        My new Ford hybrid is quiet as a tomb, making it hard to hear sirens a block away even before I turn on the 10-speaker stereo. My solution, which I try to follow in at sub-highway speeds, is to crack my left rear window by an inch. Adds a nice fresh-air breeze to a stuffy car, too.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Also true about quieter modern cars, *but* a big part of the problem is still the drivers. It’s obvious that most don’t pay attention to anything behind that is more than immediately behind. It’s not that most people actively ignore traffic to the rear that isn’t tailgating them, it’s that anything behind and farther away than that simply isn’t in their consciousness.

      You’ll notice that a very small number of left lane drivers will move over *as* faster traffic approaches before it gets close or has to slow down, but the majority don’t fathom that anything that far away could be important. Same thing in traffic jams when an emergency vehicle is coming up from behind- it’s obvious which drivers get surprised by it “suddenly” being upon them, several seconds after others have moved their own vehicles to make a hole.

      The same thing is with paying attention out front- what raph said about being two steps ahead (or not being ahead at all). I wish cops would do one of their weekend “safety blitzes” by just writing out “friendly” warnings for people who don’t pay enough attention. The social media outcry and the “I’ve been driving for ___ years and I’m a good driver” hurt feelings would be amusing, to say the least.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Technically she didn’t fail to see the lights or hear the siren. She just failed to register them, like you probably failed to register the number of sparrows you saw on your way to work this morning.

      The brain is amazingly good at filtering out noise as it makes it sway to soccer practice. It takes a tiny snapshot of the road ahead, blows it up to fill 100% of the frame, and then believes with full conviction that that’s all there was. After the accident it insists that the other car “came out of nowhere”, referring of course to the part of the screen it ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Very well put, don1967.

        That’s the same reason that motorcycles and bicycles “come out of nowhere.” Usually the brain filters it because yes, it’s a motorcycle but it was visually the size of a car that was too far away to matter. Or the brain filters it because it’s not car-shaped to the eye and the driver was looking both ways for cars.

        If your usual visual check, before making a left turn at a traffic light, is to look about a third of the way up the block for cars approaching at normal speed, then there’s a good chance you’ll miss the emergency vehicle half a block away or more- and not even be aware of the difference. It’s like the cliché, you don’t know what you don’t know.

    • 0 avatar
      Penguinlord

      You are right, there is sometimes a distinct time-lag involved in recognizing the sound and responding to it, especially with how well insulated cars are getting.

      One random idea: it does not sound very expensive for automakers to add in a feature to a car’s audio/infotainment system that could pick up signals from an FM transmitter. If municipalities installed these transmitters into the light/siren system of emergency vehicles, a car could sense an incoming emergency vehicle. A loud and distinct verbal warning to override the audio/bluetooth with “AMBULANCE/POLICE/FIRE VEHICLE INCOMING” would certainly command instant attention.

  • avatar
    jberger

    In this case, the officer didn’t slow down for the intersection. He entered the intersection between 75-80 MPH on a road marked for a max speed of 40 MPH. He lost control of his car in the intersection prior to striking the car.

    Not slowing for the intersection is the most likely reason the child was killed.

    The officer also has 5 avoidable crashes and one authorized pursuit since he’s been on the force at APD prior to killing this kid. He should have been removed from Patrol well before this accident.

    When it came to the accident investigation, the officer would not submit to questioning and instead sent a letter with his version to the investigators.

    How he gets to decline investigation in a vehicular homicide is very troubling.

    • 0 avatar
      qwerty shrdlu

      This might be the reason young Mr Anderson didn’t face further charges. While Arizona statutes might allow for a felony murder conviction if someone is killed as a result of a robbery, it is enough of a stretch that the evidence had better be rock solid. Not the case if the officer won’t even answer questions.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule_(Arizona)

  • avatar
    delow48

    It is pretty clear that this is the officer’s fault. Isn’t he/she the one who is supposedly trained for high speed driving? Wouldn’t you think there is an extra burden of care on the officer who is doing almost double the speed limit? What would a judge say to you if you were doing double the limit…carelessness maybe? The officer should have been on the lookout for someone about to pull out, and slow down for intersections…something called driving defensively like they drill into your heads in drivers ed.

    I have had situations like this a couple of times. Once an officer was chasing a speeder and pulled in the breakdown lane which was just then being filled with the orange barrels. It scared an old guy in one of those Buick Roadmasters and he almost swerved into me….the bad thing is the cop was coming so fast I doubt anyone in the three blocked lanes saw him coming. I doubt having a wreck would be worth it to stop a speeder.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I fully agree with upgrading the charges on Keisean as he was the root cause of this tragedy. We also need to give the police some leeway on how fast they go in traffic lest people get the idea that stopping for the police is optional. But the idea that it’s OK to speed through traffic to teach someone that speeding through traffic is dangerous is a little crazy.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Most of the time you can drive around with a level of attentiveness at say 9 out of 10 and be okay (and better than most drivers on the road). However, when my kids start learning to drive I am going to harp on the fact that accidents happen mostly because something unexpected happens, and to be ready for that the level of attentiveness really needs to be at 10.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Drive an old British sports car–no crumple zones, no airbags, no padded dash, no roll bars, solid shaft steering column aimed squarely at your sternum, and the seatbelts are just there so the coroner can determine who was driving–and your level of attentiveness will be at 11–always. I taught my son to drive in one just so he’d get the message; so far, so good.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    “busy intersection….70 mph”

    That says it all, to me.

    Did the cop get to Mr. Machete? NO, he did not.

    If the police officer had been doing 50–well, it might have take another 15-120 seconds to get there. But there is a higher chance he would have gotten to the emergency. A higher chance he could retain control of his Explorer and completely avoid the wreck; if not, a higher chance the impact speed would be less. Perhaps less enough to save a life? We’ll never know.

    Perhaps, like many drivers, the Escape driver was inattentive, and should have been able to avoid entering an intersection with a blaring siren.

    We’ll never know.

    However, in the name of “public service”, I think cops pretty much do as they please. Law enforcement can be a thankless job. The innocent get shaken down for traffic tickets or run over or even shot, and often the guilty get away.

    Very sad.

  • avatar
    George B

    The police officer was simply driving too fast for road conditions even with flashing lights and sirens. The driver of the Ford Escape did not comprehend that a vehicle would be approaching at 80 mph on a 40 mph street. If the police officer had been traveling at about 60 mph, maybe he could have maintained control of his vehicle and slowed enough to avoid the fatal accident. Driving twice the speed limit didn’t help because the police officer crashed before he could get to the machete crime scene.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    30+ years ago every driver/passenger in both vehicles would very likely have been killed instantly at such collision speeds. With modern safety features and tank like structures it now tends to be only the frail (children, small women, and elderly) or stupid (unbelted) that get killed in even very severe collisions, which are also far less common because modern brakes and stability control systems help avoid them or reduce their severity. Still such tragic events are bound to occur when someone isn’t paying attention or is driving beyond their capabilities, but I sometimes wonder if the safety of modern cars also don’t encourage less attention and care when driving.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      I doubt that many people are consciously calculating that they are safer in a modern car and thus can indulge in less safe behavior. Cars are now very effective at isolating their users from their surroundings, and coddling them into a mental state where very tangible risks don’t feel real. This is a feature, not a bug.

      People don’t want to maintain a higher level of awareness when driving than they’d need to walk across their living room, because doing so is tiring for most, and frankly I suspect that a large percentage of people literally cannot sustain that state for any extended period. Driving a modern car is basically as easy as walking, and people will put in roughly the same amount of thought into each.

      Regardless of the actual abilities of a vehicle to keep its occupants safe, the only way I see to make anyone pay attention while doing anything they’re not interested in, is to make that thing impossible to do without paying attention.

      Good luck.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    This is exactly why children are supposed to sit in the middle of the back seat, NOT on the outboard seats, EVER. Not until they are at least 9 or ten years old. I’m not posting blame hers, just pointing out something that is a safe practice, and should be common sense.

    I also think that drivers education should be a year long process, if not a minimum of 6 months. There should be a ton of class room time along with day and night driving time and accident avoidance and what to do when you are in an accident, like move to the side of the road if your cars are able to do so. Too many times I see stupid idiots in the middle of the freeway exchanging information or talking to someone on the phone after a simple fender bender rear bumper tap.

    They should also learn simple maintenance procedures, like how and where to change a tire. There should also be at least one week learning about C.D.L. professional driving situations and learn more in-depth about what a semi-truck driver goes through and how hard it is for them to stop or move etc..

    Another week or more should be used to learn how to drive a standard shift vehicle, including starting and stopping on a hill.

    There should also be a month learning how to ride a motorcycle so that you are mindful of what a motorcyclist goes through while riding, and hopefully you will look out for them and be safer.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      What do you do when you have more than one kid? I am asking, I have more than one kid. Where should I put them? When a cop goes tearing through a 40mph zone at double the limit and manages to brake down to a mere 67mph before he slams into the side of my car, where should my kids be?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Yep. It would be quite the feat to put both of our car seats in the middle. The younger kid’s is in the middle. The older kid’s is on the right, because there is more risk from loading and unloading the kids in a traffic lane than there is from random T-bone accidents.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The police officer was going illegally fast, and should have been ticketed or charged for it. Even with lights and sirens activated, an officer in my state may only “exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property.” I’m sure every state has similar language in its motor vehicle code. The officer should expect that other drivers will not be anticipating a vehicle approaching at roughly twice the speed limit, and slow down enough for intersections to avoid ramming those drivers. The difference in time it would have taken to get to Mr. Machete would be measured in seconds.

    When you drive professionally on a schedule, you learn quickly that excessive speed doesn’t save you a lot of time. What saves time is avoiding stops, delays, and extended slowdowns. That’s why we let emergency vehicles run red lights and make other traffic pull over for them. They don’t need to do 80+ in a 40 to get places quickly.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    Another tragic instance of the “King’s Men can do no wrong” standard.

    If you or I drove that way for ANY reason and killed someone we’d lose the license and be up on charges of manslaughter or vehicular homicide – and for good reason. It likely would be a long time before a civilian doing this saw the outside of a jail cell let alone was permitted behind the wheel of a car again.

    But when a “hero” does it, no big deal. Law enforcement “comprehensively” investigates itself and finding of no wrongdoing judges the incident to be all in a day’s work. It may not be in writing but as a practical matter there is one law for the small folk and a different law for those charged with administering it.

    https://www.copblock.org/

    https://donttalktocops.com/

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So it sounds like the answer is… concealed carry permits.

    Glad we cleared that up.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    I’m with you Jack. Accidents will happen, and I like to drive with some exuberance, but accidents will happen less if you drive expecting that other drivers won’t follow the rules. Make eye contact with other drivers. Don’t drive in someone’s blind spot. Don’t assume someone will use their turn signal. Don’t assume a turn signal actually means a turn. Be paranoid about someone slamming into you from behind if you have to slow to a near stop on the freeway (and use flashers liberally). And don’t go through an intersection without slowing down enough to make sure someone isn’t going to blast through the red light. Never learned this stuff in driver’s education, but these practices have saved me (and my passengers) many times over the last 25 years.

  • avatar
    brn

    Can we get back to automotive news?

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    I wonder why Jack named the original suspect and suggests that he be liable for actions not his own…

    Oh,I forgot that this is Alt-Right About Cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      You should volunteer to be a foster parent for the “teen” and see how it works out to be at close range with someone whom you desire and admire from a safe distance.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    I suspect with the B&B, you are preaching to the choir Jack. Yes every driver should receive proper training on how to operate a motor vehicle. Failing that, just good ole’ dumb common sense should be advocated. “Is it a good idea for me to drive this 5000lb piece of steel 75mph while texting?” “I’m about to join a highway, should I accelerate from 35mph or just throw the indicator and hope for the best?” etc,etc….

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Man, excellent comments!

    My take after reading all this:
    1) No matter how you slice it, he police officer was going way too fast through the intersection. He also has a history as a low-performing driver.
    2) The intersection was too complicated and busy for the driver who was hit to quickly sort out what was happening, especially with how quickly the police car arrived.
    3) Cars today are far too insulated from the outside world. Drivers should be engaged, not cocooned.
    4) Mr. Machete was seen as such a threat to public safety that officers felt obliged to ignore their safety protocol, to an extent that should not have been possible (80mph through an intersection in a 40mph zone).

    Mr. Machete is most culpable in causing the situation, but if he’s waving a machete in a grocery store, no law or threat of punishment is going to change his behavior. He needs a lot of time in an 8×8 cell to think about the consequences of his actions, but he also needs a lot of counseling.

    The officer needs to be taken out of his car. If he would like to reaccomplish driver’s training and the police driving course, he could eventually return to a car – but on probation for a long while.

    The police department needs to try to make things right with the family who lost their child. Check in on them every now and then.

    The mother should consider taking a defensive driving course and take a self-conscious look at how she drives. Is the stereo at a reasonable level? Is the cell phone out-of-sight and out-of-mind?

    The lesson for the rest of us is that driving is a performance art, but most of us aren’t artists, and many of us have a Nero complex when it comes to driving.


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