Police: Drivers ed for cops works

Vehicle accident injury claims are way down and police vehicle accidents down by 15 percent,  all while the Philadelphia Police Department tripled its driver training sessions, Deputy Police Commissioner Patricia Giorgio-Fox said Monday.

Targeting officers with five years or less on the job -- who are involed in the "vast majority" of traffic accidents, Fox said -- the department is on target to reduce its injury claims from $3.6 million in the last budget year to $1.6 million for the year ending June 30. Also, "preventable," traffic accidents were down 20 percent from calendar year 2008 to 2009, and non-preventable are down 10 percent, or 15 percent across the board, Giorgio-Fox said. An accident is defined as "preventable" if the officer played some role in the accident, she said.

Giorgio-Fox credited the city's expanded driver training program, both on the road and in virtual similators, with six times more training sessions than the previous year. The department also strongly discourages the use of cell phones while officers are driving, she said. The deputy commissioner presented the statistics at a PhillyStat meeting Monday afternoon.

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