Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.
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The Danger of Police Chases in New York City: A Call for Safer Pursuits

Multiple pedestrians and a cyclist where injured in a multiple-collision crash caused by the driver of a stolen car who was trying to escape the police near Grand Central Station

As car accident attorneys in New York City, we have witnessed numerous devastating cases resulting from reckless driving and accidents. However, one particular type of accident that stands out as particularly dangerous is police chases and we have handled many such cases with excellent results.

The recent incident that occurred on August 1, 2023, where ten people were injured during a police chase in one of the most busy areas of Manhattan, highlights the urgent need to address the hazards associated with these pursuits.

10 people injured after driver chased by police lost control of stolen car

On August 1, 2023, the streets of Manhattan witnessed a horrifying scene when a 20-year-old driver in a stolen SUV attempted to flee a police traffic stop. The driver’s reckless actions led to multiple collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians, leaving ten innocent people injured. Among the victims were children as young as five and seven years old.

While police chases may seem like scenes from action-packed movies, they pose significant risks to the public and law enforcement officers. High-speed pursuits through busy city streets create a dangerous environment where innocent bystanders and drivers can get caught in the crossfire of a potentially deadly situation. The risks associated with police chases include:

  1. Increased Risk of Accidents: During high-speed chases, drivers are often pushed to their limits, making them more likely to lose control of their vehicles and cause accidents.
  2. Pedestrian Endangerment: In densely populated areas like New York City, police chases put pedestrians at great risk as vehicles speed through crowded sidewalks and intersections.
  3. Collateral Damage: Innocent bystanders who have no connection to the initial incident may suffer severe injuries or even fatalities due to collisions caused by the fleeing driver or pursuing officers.
  4. Stress on Law Enforcement: Pursuing vehicles at high speeds requires immense skill and concentration, putting immense stress on the police officers involved.

While it is essential for law enforcement to apprehend suspects and protect the public, there is a growing concern about the safety of police chase protocols. As car accident attorneys, we believe that it is time for a comprehensive review of police pursuit policies to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Here are some potential steps to make police chases safer:

  1. Training and Technology: Law enforcement agencies should invest in advanced pursuit training for officers to minimize risks during chases. Additionally, adopting technologies such as GPS tracking and drone assistance can aid in apprehending suspects without resorting to high-speed pursuits.
  2. Risk Assessment: Officers should conduct a risk assessment before initiating a chase. Pursuits should be limited to cases where the suspect poses an immediate threat to public safety, and the risk of apprehension through a chase is reasonably low.
  3. Communication and Coordination: Improving communication between pursuing officers and coordinating with other units and agencies can help reduce the risks associated with police chases.
  4. Use of Non-Lethal Means: When possible, employing non-lethal means such as tire deflation devices can help immobilize fleeing vehicles without endangering the lives of innocent bystanders.

The recent accident in Manhattan is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with police chases in New York City. As car accident attorneys, we call for a reevaluation of police pursuit policies to prioritize public safety while still effectively apprehending suspects. By investing in advanced training, technology, and coordination, we can minimize the risks to both civilians and law enforcement officers during high-speed pursuits. Together, we can create a safer environment for everyone on our streets and prevent such tragic accidents from occurring in the future.