Data shows fewer deaths after restrictions on police pursuits

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In a 466-day period pre-reform, 11 people were killed in active vehicle pursuits. In a period of the same length after the reforms were introduced, only two people were killed. Chart by Henry Behrens/Source: Martina Morris

Preliminary data indicates that vehicular deaths caused by police pursuits in Washington state declined by more than 80 percent since a 2021 state law was enacted that restricted when officers could chase suspects in their vehicles.

As of Nov. 3, two people have been killed in police pursuits since HB 1054 came into effect, compared to 11 in a similar 15-month period prior.

The figures, compiled by retired University of Washington sociology and statistics professor Martina Morris, come from the journalist-led Fatal Encounters Project and Washington Post Police Shootings Database. Morris, who is a member of the police accountability group Next Steps Washington, said that vehicle collisions have historically accounted for about 1 in 10 police killings in the state.

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