The Insane Data of Car Chases

From Vsauce2.

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Nothing is more exciting than a high speed car chase — and it turns out that almost nothing is more dangerous, too. Suspects, innocent pedestrians, and even the police themselves are subject to everything that makes watching movies like Fast & Furious or playing Grand Theft Auto a seriously entertaining experience. For thousands of people every year, that means serious injury and even death.

But the crazy thing is that we know exactly how to solve the problem, and no one seems to care.

I analyzed the data and even found an anonymous source inside a state police department who was willing to tell me how car chases really work. The result? We’re doing something that’s bad for everyone, usually for unimportant reasons, with life-changing consequences.

And why do we keep doing it? The benefits are minor and the consequences are major. But if all the data suggests the tradeoffs we make when we engage in car chases isn’t worth it, why don’t we just stop? That’s the problem here… and no one cares.


Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Police Vehicle Pursuits, 2012-2013”:

Fatal Encounters with Police:

“High-speed police chases have killed thousands of innocent bystanders,” Thomas Frank, USA Today:

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Hosted and Produced by Kevin Lieber

Research and Writing by Matthew Tabor

Editing by John Swan

Huge Thanks To Paula Lieber

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