Police officers are often brave and heroic, and their jobs are harder than ever, frequently requiring them to talk on their cellphones and police radios and even type on computers as they drive. The results can be tragic.
Bryan Vila, WSU professor of criminal justice and criminology, is one of the world’s leading experts on distracted police driving. He put the Today’s Jeff Rossen behind the wheel in the driving simulator he uses to test officers’ eye movement and reaction time.
Rossen’s driving in the simulator was fine until Vila added a common police distraction: the onboard computer. After Rossen ran off the simulated road and spun out, review of his eye movement showed that his eyes were off the road, looking at the computer screen instead, for almost four seconds. “That’s enough to cause a hell of an accident,” Vila said.
There are “three easy solutions,” according to Vila.