42% of police officers killed in car accidents over the last 30 years were not wearing seat belts, according to a federal review.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which analyzed 733 crashes from 1980 through 2008 and found 42% of fatal police car accidents involve officers failing to wear safety restraints in their vehicles. Some officers resist wearing seat belts because the belts slow their movement in and out of the cars. Officers also complain that the belts get tangled in utility and gun belts.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports a 37% overall increase in line of duty deaths in 2010, reversing two consecutive years of decline. Included in that number, traffic-related fatalities jumped from 51 in 2009 to 73 in 2010. Of the officers killed in vehicle crashes, 28% used some kind of restraint in the 1980s, according to the NHTSA report. Usage increased to 56% in the 1990s. But the report found that seat belt or other restraint use has recently declined to about 50%.
As you can see police are not exempt from the dangers associated with car accidents. Seat belts save lives, even if they are inconvenient to use at times.