The accident took place on Interstate 80 between Greenback Lane and Antelope Road when a Chevrolet Cruze rear-ended a Toyota Corolla during a lane change. The Toyota was propelled into the carpool lane as the motorcycle officer approached, and he was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the Toyota. He was ejected from his motorcycle.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the officer and my best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Officers at High Risk of Crash
About a quarter of all police officers killed in the line of duty are killed in vehicular accidents, according to the Justice Department. There are many more officers who are injured, some who suffer mild medical issues and others who experience major health problems. There are many ways officers can be injured in car and motorcycle accidents; most involve chases of criminals, but some, like this accident, are simply the result of “normal” traffic collisions.
Officers are trained to respond quickly, but this does not always protect them from the possibility of careless drivers or unavoidable collision situations.
Laws Regarding Police Officer Crashes
The same laws that protect citizens protect police officers in terms of right-of-way, although police officers do have a bit more leeway in some areas. For example, police officers are allowed to “run” red lights in pursuit of a suspect if they have their lights and sirens operating, although they still need to be aware of the dangers posed by these types of actions.
Police officers are expected to obey all traffic laws, and may be held criminally responsible if they break a traffic law and cause a crash. Police officers have, on occasion, been arrested for failure to follow traffic laws, especially if they end up causing a collision and injuries to an innocent person.
Liability Regarding Police Officer Crashes
Unfortunately, police officers can bring liability upon not only themselves as individuals but their departments as well if they cause an accident through negligence or carelessness. Many police departments have been sued over actions on the part of individual officers that caused harm to other people. These lawsuits are often successful as police officers are expected to consider the safety of the public at all times.
However, police officers also have the right to sue if they are injured by someone in a traffic accident as the result of that person’s negligence. Many police officers may not exercise their right to sue because of pressure by their departments or the public. No matter who the victim is in an accident, a Sacramento car accident attorney can help that person recover damages for injuries.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “CHP motorcycle officer suffers major injuries in I-80 crash,” Staff Writers, September 25, 2012.