Vehicular Pursuits

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Vehicular Pursuits: Safety and Justifiability

Vehicular pursuits refer to attempts by police officers to apprehend suspects that flee in motor vehicles (Montgomery County Police). The suspected offenders usually avoid capture by increasing their driving speed and deploying evasive tactics. In some cases, people use wrong lanes and hence brush against oncoming traffic while escaping from law enforcement agents. Vehicular pursuits are usually commandeered with the help of police mutual aid radio systems. Police officers are expected to determine whether the fleeing individual is aware of their presence (Montgomery County Police). Proper consideration should be given to drivers adhering to traffic laws including speed limitations. Law enforcement should pursue suspects fleeing in motor vehicles to protect members of the public from potential harm.

Justifiability of Vehicular Pursuits

Vehicular pursuits are justifiable when the driver is suspected of causing a felony or serious physical injury (Montgomery County Police). Assaulting a police officer provides legitimate grounds for vehicular pursuit since law enforcement personnel are symbols of federal authority. Any harm inflicted on a police officer adversely affects the public since their safety is compromised. Suspected offenders are also pursued if they seem to drive under the influence of intoxicating substances such as narcotics and alcohol (Montgomery County Police). Intoxicated drivers pose great danger to the public since they manifest reckless abandon for speed limits and other traffic laws. In addition, drivers suspected of perpetrating hit-and-run incidents should be pursued since their conduct is designed to escape responsibility for their actions. Road users may be endangered due to exposure to dangerous driving. Law enforcement officers can initiate vehicular pursuits when they have reasonable cause to believe that physical injury has been inflicted by fleeing drivers. Hence, vehicular pursuits are justifiable since they help police officers to comprehend persons seeking to avoid accountability.

Parameters for Vehicular Pursuits

The seriousness associated with vehicular pursuits necessitates police officers to adhere to certain parameters. Law enforcement agents must evaluate the hazards involved in conducting vehicular pursuits. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the transgression, police officers must recognize their liability. In this regard, law enforcement personnel must use proper caution when conducting vehicular pursuits to safeguard their safety and that of other officers (Montgomery County Police). Police officers can arbitrarily choose to initiate vehicular pursuit if the offender is suspected of committing a violent felony. In other cases, law enforcement agents are required to contact their sworn supervisors to obtain approval (Montgomery County Police). The sworn supervisor can call off or approve the pursuit after considering safety concerns, seriousness of the offense, and reasons for the pursuit.

Safety Concerns for Vehicular Pursuits

Safety concerns should be considered and analyzed before approval is issued for vehicular pursuits. For instance, the location of the pursuit is paramount since it can determine the safety of other pedestrians. Areas with congested populations can pose greater danger to civilians in comparison to sparsely populated regions. Sworn supervisors should evaluate the time of day in which the pursuit will be conducted. Pursuits during the day or night may present unique challenges with regards to visibility and traffic. Furthermore, the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic must be weighed to examine the level of threats posed to civilians (Montgomery County Police). Places with heavy traffic can experience greater safety risks than those with light pedestrian traffic. The prevailing weather conditions can determine issues such as visibility and safety. Officers are more likely to lose control and suffer injuries if they perform high-speed pursuits in inclement weather conditions (Montgomery County Police). Besides, the speed of the pursuit contributes to safety outcomes for both officers and fleeing drivers. Consequently, weighing safety concerns shows proper regard for human life and physical property such as vehicles and surrounding buildings.

Termination of Vehicular Pursuits

Approved vehicular pursuits can be terminated under certain conditions. For example, law enforcement personnel may determine that the risks involved in conducting pursuits are greater than the need to persist (Montgomery County Police). If feeing drivers chose to confront incoming traffic, people’s lives could be threatened. Sworn supervisors also have the authority to discontinue pursuits when they determine that the dangers involved are insurmountable. Road conditions, traffic considerations, and weather factors may make it hazardous for officers to continue their pursuit. If the suspected assailants seem quite far from the officers, it would be reasonable to terminate the pursuit (Alpert and Lum 5). Law enforcement personnel usually conduct vehicular pursuits since fleeing drivers are unknown. Nevertheless, pursuits can be discontinued after the suspected offenders are duly identified (Montgomery County Police). Authorized misdemeanors also reduce the necessity of conducting vehicular pursuits. Law enforcement agents should never operate their vehicles in a manner that seems uncontrollable. Radio communication with other officers should be used to guide the pursuit and identify the need for termination.


Indeed, vehicular pursuits are justifiable since they prevent suspected offenders from escaping responsibility. Pursuits also reduce the risks posed to pedestrians and other road users. Law enforcement personnel should perform vehicular pursuits when the fleeing driver is suspected of causing a felony or other serious physical injuries. Persons driving under the influence must also be pursued at a reasonable pace in consideration of safety concerns.

Works Cited

Alpert, Geoffrey P., and Cynthia Lum. "Police pursuits: A complex policy arena."Police pursuit driving. Springer, New York, NY, 2014, 1-12.

Montgomery County Police. “Vehicular Pursuits”. Montgomery County, May 2009, [Accessed 14 Oct. 2018]

December 12, 2023

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