Shootings are Second to Crashes

More police have been killed by cars over the past decade than have been shot. In fact, the number one cop-killer in the US is the car, not the gun. Add in motorcycle crashes and its more than all violent deaths combined.

Transit Miami, in an article about public apathy over traffic deaths, found a table with the causes of police officer death as collected by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund over the past 10 years. Nationally, 173 officers have died nonviolently, such as a job-related illness, 650 officers have been killed violently, and 687 have been killed in traffic.

Think about that. More cops die on the road than die in the street.

People fixate on the violent deaths and try to prevent those, but pay little heed to traffic fatalities. A quick search of Google trends data finds peaks about officers shot or killed. Only one article, from Maryland, was about an officer killed in a car crash, but it’s a memorial piece. There’s talk about the dangers police face every day, but, just like when a civilian dies, traffic deaths are taken as inevitable.

They’re not inevitable. Simple things, easy things, can make police officers and civilians safer when travelling. Road safety isn’t as sexy as bulletproof vests or Tasers, but it’s the difference between life and death for those who have pledged to serve and protect the public. We owe it to them, and ourselves, to never forget that it’s roads, not just guns, that kill.

Police officer deaths by type

About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

5 Responses to Shootings are Second to Crashes

  1. dw shelf says:

    ^People fixate on the violent deaths and try to prevent those, but pay little heed to traffic fatalities.

    Eh? People pay little heed to traffic fatalities? What kind of analysis yields such a claim?

  2. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco

  3. Mike says:

    The number of people who die in car-related collisions – just in the US – is equal to a jumbo jet crashing every two days with everyone dying on board. Do you think we react appropriately to deaths associated with car crashes?

  4. This is great of you to point this out. And Mike’s comment about the jumbo jets is also worthwhile. Here at SafeTREC (, our researcher Tom Rice has presented at the APHA two days ago on this very topic. Here’s the page with all our talks: Go down to 269780.

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