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Traffic Stop Vehicle Placement

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 47 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1999 Pages: 172-176
Donald L. Mong; Dave Delbonis
Date Published
5 pages
Vehicle crash tests conducted in Rhode Island to determine the best placement of police patrol cars during traffic stops to protect police officers from dangerous actions of inattentive or reckless drivers in passing vehicles.
Vehicles selected to represent the police vehicle were of comparable size and curb weight as police cars. The test vehicles were placed on prearranged marks on a road surface configured as a 2-lane highway with lanes measuring 12.5 feet each. The road had a 2-foot breakdown lane leading to a grassy shoulder. Intermittent stripes were painted on the right hand fog lane to show scale for overhead videotaping. The pullover vehicle was a 1989 Volkswagen Fox and was positioned in the breakdown lane, closer to the left hand fog lane and parallel to it. The approach speed of the hypothetical motor vehicle driven to strike the police vehicle was verified with a hand-held radar unit connected to a visible signboard. The impacts were conducted at or close to 30 miles per hour to provide consistent data. A fire department provided emergency support with a crash truck, foam truck, and rescue truck. Both angled placement and offset placement of the police vehicle were tested. Findings suggested the risks and nature of anticipated injuries to the officer in the police vehicle and the pedestrian officer. Findings also indicated that wearing the seat belt while writing out a motor vehicle violation or other type of document provides the document with the same benefits as when the vehicle is in motion. Figures, chart, and photograph


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