by Tim Farrell of Fulton
The death of a New York State Trooper was prominent in the news recently. The office died as a result of a single vehicle accident while pursuing a speeding vehicle.
It was reported that the officer was driving an SUV (a Chevrolet Tahoe). This is the second Trooper in approximately two years who has died in a similar manner, while driving the same type of vehicle, in pursuit of a speeding vehicle.
My personal feeling is that SUV’s are not an appropriate platform to use as a chase vehicle. There may be unusual circumstances that would warrant the use of SUVs; but certainly, routine speed enforcement is not one of them.
The Chevrolet Tahoe, like all SUVs, has a very high center of gravity, which makes a rollover a risky possibility while driving at speed.
SUVs are also quite heavy as compared to the typical law enforcement cruiser, which creates braking distance issues as well.
Anyone who has driven a high-heavy vehicle has probably noticed that his or her perception of speed and safety is quite different from the feeling they get from driving a car and usually a false sense of security is derived.
Driver training is another aspect that must be considered when thinking about the tragic loss of police officers while in pursuit.
I’m sure that the state gives our Troopers what they consider to be adequate driver training, though I suspect it is not.