More police pursuits will mean more deaths and injuries

An increase in the number of police pursuits will inevitably mean an increase in the number of serious injuries and deaths, says the car review website editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

"Most fatal pursuits start from a relatively minor violation and quickly escalate into a major catastrophe.”

“Just last weekend, a man in his 20s died after his car was pursued by police before crashing into a power pole in Dunedin. This is the future: more police pursuits will mean more deaths, and many of these deaths and injuries will involve innocent people.”

Matthew-Wilson understands “the impossible position the police are in”.

“If they don’t pursue fleeing offenders, the police fear they will be seen as weak, which may encourage further offending. If the police increase the number of pursuits, there will inevitably be more serious and fatal crashes.”

“Yes, it’s the offenders’ fault; police pursuit accidents wouldn’t happen if offenders didn’t try and flee from the police. Unfortunately, the police themselves have acknowledged that offenders generally don’t think before they act.”

The FBI has made it perfectly clear that many police chases are not necessary and that such pursuits place the public at considerable risk.

“Nor will increasing penalties make any difference.”

In a 2021 article, the Police Association stated:

“Research literature on the deterrent effects of punishment suggested that increasing the severity of penalties for failing to stop would have little effect on offending.”

The Police Association article added that many offenders actually chose to flee from police in order to avoid punishment for other offences.

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“Most of these fleeing drivers are young idiots who don’t think before they do anything. If they were smart they wouldn’t flee from the police. The fact that they are fleeing from the police generally means they’re too reckless or stupid to realise the risks they are taking.”

“Aside from the fact that these drivers are generally poorly educated, they’re also young, and the part of the brain that understands cause and effect doesn’t fully develop until early adulthood.”

Matthew-Wilson says the long-term solution to these social problems appears to lie in education.

“There is a crystal clear connection between your level of education and your likelihood in ending up dead or injured behind the wheel of a car.”

A 2015 American study showed that the road death rate of the least educated was 4.3 times the road death rate of the most educated.

“The highest risk group on our roads typically is male, working class, with a low level of education and a low interest in education. This group has a poor understanding of cause and effect and typically has poor outcomes in all aspects of their lives.”

“Tragically, this least educated group is most likely to drive blotto, recklessly and not wear seatbelts. So, if we are to improve long term road safety, we must improve educational outcomes for the poor.”