L.A. County Deputies Ordered to Reduce Patrol Car Computer Use While Driving

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L.A. County sheriff's Deputy Michael Tadrous drives in a patrol car equipped with a dashboard computer in 2014. (Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

To cut down on distracted driving, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been ordered to rely primarily on radios rather than dashboard computers.

The new policy, issued on Feb. 25, had been in the works for almost a year in response to distracted-driving accidents, including one in which a deputy killed a bicyclist while tapping out a reply message to another deputy.

Before the change, deputies frequently used the computers as they drove, running motorists’ license plate numbers or logging their own activities, among other things.

The old policy already stated that radios should be the main form of communication behind the wheel. The new policy clarifies that deputies should not use the computers for administrative tasks, such as updating records or messaging colleagues, other than in an emergency or when the car is parked.

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