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Analysis of the Rates of Accidents, Injuries and Fatalities Under Different Light Conditions: A Michigan Emergency Response Study of State Police Pursuits

NCJ Number
Policing Volume: 20 Issue: 2 Dated: (1997) Pages: 357-373
D M Payne; J C Fenske
Date Published
17 pages
Police pursuit accident data from the Michigan Emergency Response Study (MERS) were compared with non-pursuit accident data for on-duty Michigan State Police (MSP) personnel between 1988 and 1990, general population accidents for the same period, and general population accidents between 1987 and 1991 to examine negative outcomes associated with police pursuits.
General population and non-pursuit MSP accident data were obtained from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. When examining accident, injury, and fatality rates for light conditions, the proportion was computed by dividing the number of injuries or fatal accidents that occurred under specific light conditions by the total number of accidents for that specific light condition. Comparative data revealed pursuit accidents were significantly more likely to occur during darkness and less likely to occur during daylight hours. Injury accidents, however, were more likely to occur in daylight and darkness but not so during dawn or dusk light conditions. Significant differences in fatalities were not found during daylight or dawn and dusk, but the MERS fatality rate was significantly higher than the other comparison groups during darkness. Problems associated with determining the scope and seriousness of police pursuits and their outcomes are noted, and recommendations to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities due to police pursuits are presented. 49 references and 9 tables