The Radio Television Digital News Association has awarded NBC 5 / KXAS-TV the national Edward R. Murrow Award in the Continuing Coverage – Large Market Television category for “Driven to Distraction.” The series led to police department policy changes designed to prevent crashes caused by police officers using mobile dashboard computers while driving.
During a nine-month-long investigation, the NBC 5 Investigates team revealed serious crashes and injuries caused by police officers distracted by the dashboard mounted computers now installed in most patrol cars across America.
The team, led by NBC 5 investigative reporter Scott Friedman, searched local police department records and state accident reports to reveal crashes involving distractions inside a police car happen at least 2-3 times a month in Texas. In one North Texas city alone, reports showed 18 crashes caused by computer distractions in about three years. Through state open records requests, the team also uncovered police dashboard camera videos revealing just how dangerous these crashes can be.
The NBC 5 Investigates team collaborated with NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams to produce a national story about the original Dallas-Fort Worth reports generating a nationwide conversation about the issue.
The world’s largest organization of police chiefs promised new guidelines to deal with the dangers. In Missouri, the state highway patrol made the crash videos NBC 5 uncovered part of mandatory safety training for every state highway trooper.
More recent stories in the series also covered efforts to combat the problem with technology that locks the computer keyboard while the car is in motion. One North Texas department has become first in Texas to fully outfit its fleet with these new devices.
“We strive daily to tell important stories to our viewers, so to receive national recognition for a job well done is reassuring,” said Susan Tully, NBC 5 vice president of news. “The fact that the series had impact beyond North Texas is evidence of the quality of work NBC 5 Investigates is doing.”
The NBC 5 Investigates team is led by reporter Scott Friedman and consists of producer Eva Parks, researcher Shane Allen, photographer Peter Hull and NBC 5 senior manager of specials Shannon Hammel.
Edward R. Murrow Awards are presented annually by The Radio Television Digital News Association, the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism.
INVESTIGATIVE SERIES: DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
ABOUT NBC 5 / KXAS-TV
NBC 5 / KXAS-TV is the NBC-owned television station serving the communities of North Texas with quality news and entertainment programming on NBC 5, Cozi TV (Digital 5.2) and online at NBCDFW.com.