The U.S. government has drastically understated the number of people killed in high-speed police car chases, potentially by thousands of fatalities over several decades, a USA TODAY investigation shows.An earlier report from USA Today in July was titled "High speed police chases have killed thousands of innocent bystanders."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration overlooked at least 101 motor-vehicle deaths in 2013 that were related to a police chase, according to a USA TODAY review of police reports and internal documents, court records, police-car videos and news accounts based on police statements.
NHTSA's count of 322 chase-related deaths in 2013 — the most recent year for which its records are publicly available — understates the total by at least 31%, the investigation shows.
NHTSA's undercount suggests that the actual number of people killed in police chases since 1979 could be more than 15,000 — far more than the 11,506 chase-related deaths found in the agency's public records — and that chases result in a death much more frequently than studies have stated.
The findings expose potentially major flaws in how the federal government tracks motor-vehicle fatalities and, to a lesser extent, how police document high-speed chases, which often result in innocent people being killed and have been sharply restricted in some cities.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Bystander deaths from police pursuits significantly undercounted
High-speed chases by police are more common and more deadly than previously thought, reported USA Today in a story which opened (Sept. 29):