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Police Forces Eye Lights To Combat Trooper Accidents

Massachusetts State Police officials are considering additional safety measures after a fifth trooper was injured in as many weeks when a car struck his pulled-over patrol car early Sunday morning.

One idea is that to make emergency vehicles safer, police departments across the country have actually started using fewer lights.

David Martinelli is a transportation engineering professor at the University of West Virginia, a state that made changes after a trooper accident earlier this year. Martinelli says people naturally look into flashing lights as they drive past. But, the problem is, people tend to steer toward where they’re looking.

"Those who are elderly, who are drunk, who are fatigued are particularly vulnerable," Martinelli said.

Many states now use red, white and blue flashing lights for pulling over, but then change to amber lights when stopped to communicate caution.

This program aired on July 19, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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