Driving safety laws are often broken, especially if people think that they can get away with things like speeding or impaired driving. Unfortunately, police cannot stop everyone, so motorists often think they can engage in unsafe behavior without consequences. The more people are subjected to dangerous risks on the road, and the less often they are pulled over by police, the greater the threat to road safety. When people break safety rules and cause crashes, victims should consult with Janesville auto accident lawyer Steve Caya to pursue claims for damages against these unsafe drivers.

The Washington Post reports that there may be more unsafe driving going on than we realize and as such, accident risks may be on the rise on the nation’s roadways. The Post says some safety experts are attributing the increased chances of highway collisions to the so-called “Ferguson Effect.”


The Ferguson Effect is most commonly referenced in connection with a theory that police are not being as proactive as they used to be in fighting crime. The Ferguson Effect gets its name from a controversial police shooting that took place in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. A white police officer shot a young black man, setting off nationwide controversy. There is a belief that police are now more reluctant to carry out their duties because of a possible risk of similar future controversies, and thus this fear is leading to rising crime.

While the FBI and others have raised doubts about whether the Ferguson Effect actually exists and is impacting crime rates, others are also raising questions about whether the Ferguson Effect may be having an impact not just on violent crime, but also on traffic accident risks as well.

The Washington Post reported that some law enforcement officers, as well as the executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), believe that police are more reluctant to make traffic stops — even for possible violations like speeding. Since each stop could potentially escalate into a violent confrontation, police may not want to take a chance that they will pull someone over for what the public sees as a minor offense and end up in a violent standoff.

There is not a lot of evidence for the impact of the Ferguson Effect on traffic. However, the issue was discussed at a GHSA panel meeting recently and it could be one possible explanation for a downturn in traffic enforcement.

Of course, regardless of whether they fear getting pulled over, motorists should still obey the rules of the road and avoid dangerous driving behaviors that increase the chances of collisions. If a motorist causes an accident by violating safety rules, this violation can create the presumption that the motorist was negligent and is thus liable for losses resulting from a crash caused by negligence.

An auto accident attorney can provide assistance to those who are harmed and wish to take action against a motorist who broke the rules and injured or killed others in a resulting collision. Contact Steve Caya today.

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Wesley Richards Avatar Wesley Richards
The Risk of Highway Accidents: Is the Ferguson Effect Causing an Increase?
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