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Police in and around the nation's capital don't have an easy job, but there is one area that they could improve upon: their driving.
Local police officers have been involved in hundreds of "preventable accidents" every year -- aka, "vehicular collisions that could have been avoided had the drivers adhered to traffic laws and basic roadway etiquette," according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
D.C. police officers managed to wreck it up 237 times last fiscal year, and 600+ more times the year before, while Montgomery County police tallied 385 collisions in fiscal 2009, and 57 preventable accidents so far this fiscal year.
Oops. (Or should we say, crunch?)
"These guys are sometimes the worst drivers out there," John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman, told the newspaper. "It's almost like they're teenagers -- overconfident in their ability to drive. They take defensive driving courses, but they probably should take more of them."
In fiscal 2009, according to D.C. statistics, District police employees sideswiped vehicles in parking lots, reversed into numerous "fixed objects," and opened their doors into traffic. They passed and backed up without caution, failed to control speed to avoid colliding, made unsafe U-turns, followed too close, drove on sidewalks, changed lanes without caution, and ran red lights. At least three failed to place their cars in park. One failed to "pay full time attention" as he operated his Segway.
Despite their dismal record, D.C. police managed not to kill anyone during those types of accidents this year. Unlike in September 2007, when George Thomas Riggs was struck by a police cruiser while crossing Wisconsin Avenue NW and died three weeks later.
The officer in the case allegedly "did not have enough reaction time to stop before colliding with the pedestrian," but the family's still suing the District over it, with a pre-trial hearing slated for April 1.