On the Car Pro Show, we often thank our police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and our military men and women. This is National Police Week, and we encourage our listeners all across the country to thank police officers for what they do. It is hard to imagine what our country would be like without the service they provide.
In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
Each May, an estimated 20,000 people assemble at the memorial grounds in Judiciary Square for the Candlelight Vigil, a signature event of National Police Week. For the seventh year, the ceremony will be streamed live over the Internet so that people across the country can witness this annual tribute to America’s law enforcement officers. Individuals interested in the free webcast can register online at www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.
It’s also a time to note that auto accidents are the number one cause of police officer deaths. Preliminary numbers show that number is down seven percent from 2015 to 2014. The most police officer traffic accident deaths occurred in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, followed by Louisiana and Pennsylvania. However, the number of deaths has been virtually cut in half since 2007 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Fund offers officers these tips to stay safe on our roadways and to help decrease officer injuries and fatalities.
- Wear your seat belt. Traffic-related incidents were #1 cause of officer fatalities 13 out of last 15 years. Forty-two percent of officers killed in auto crashes the past three decades were not wearing seat belts.
- Be alert. Recent studies have shown that around 20-25% of crashes are attributable to distracted driving. This includes law enforcement officers, who are distracted by cell phones which many use in lieu of their radio. Though many agencies prohibit this, some do not.
- Focus on driving. As stated in a June 2011 NHTSA “Building Safe Communities” bulletin, “Some [officers] forget that they are driving a 4,000-pound bullet that kills as quickly, and at a greater rate, than the gun on their hip.”
- Wear high visibility apparel. Practice high-visibility enforcement to reduce unsafe driving behavior, and be as visible as possible on the roadways.