Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Arlington mayor undershoots police crashes, stands by uninformed comments
Despite the clucking, Police Chief Johnson is making changes.
ARLINGTON Earlier this year, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck told the local NBC affiliate that local police had no problem with distracted driving related to in-vehicle computers mounted on squadcar dashboards -- estimating that there had been only three minor accidents in the last three years. "I'm sorry it happened in other cities. It hasn't happened in Arlington," Mayor Cluck told NBC5 in an interview aired in July, "I just think our officers are above the fray there." In response, the Dallas TV station filed an open records requests to discover the real number, which turned out to be 18. Regardless, even when confronted with new data that crashes occurred six times more often than he'd claimed, Mayor Cluck declined to alter his stance. "Cluck said he still thinks it’s safe for officers to type and drive," reported NBC5's Scott Friedman. However, "Even though the mayor thinks it’s safe, Police Chief Johnson says he's making changes to the department’s written policy." The story concluded:
Earlier this summer NBC 5 Investigates conducted an extensive search of state accident reports to find out how often emergency vehicles in Texas are involved in crashes where a distraction in the emergency vehicle is listed as a causing factor.
That search revealed that distractions in emergency vehicles cause crashes about three times a month in Texas.
But that was only serious crashes - involving more significant injuries or damage that require the accident be reported to the state.
Finding 18 crashes involving computer distractions alone over several years - in Arlington - suggests distracted driving crashes involving police officers are happening a lot more often than the state numbers show.
Pegasus News Content partner - Grits For Breakfast
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