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LAPD looking to reduce its high rate of traffic collisions

LAPD, speeding, chase, los angeles police department cruiser squad patrol car

steve lyon/Flickr Creative Commons

Collision liabilities are hurting LAPD, and the department's looking for changes.

The City of Los Angeles paid out almost $24 million in traffic-related incidents involving LAPD officers over the past 9 years and the department is looking to drastically reduce that amount in the future. The department averages about 1,000 traffic accidents a year. 

In 2010, LAPD traffic collisions cost the city $5.8 million in liability claims. In 2011, that number was about $960,000 and so far in 2012, the city has paid out $58,0000.

Beth Corriea, LAPD's risk manager, said at the Police Commission meeting Tuesday that the police force is taking steps to inspire safety-minded driving and to insulate the department from costly lawsuits. 

One of the main things the department is working on is using so-called "black boxes, " the car's Power Control Modules to understand how an accident occurred. PCM's — chips that are installed in most major cars to regulate engine functions, that also have the capacity to store engine data — are in all police cars, but the department doesn't necessarily know how to read those chips.