While the phrase “pit manuever” makes it sound like something from either racing or barbecue, it’s actually an acronym, traditionally standing for “Precision Immobilization Technique” or “Pursuit Intervention Technique”.
The PIT maneuver has been used by US police departments since about 1985, although the maneuver has been in existence since the early 70’s in Europe. It doesn’t “send the pursued vehicle into a spin” exactly- or at least, that is an overstatement.
During a pit maneuver, the pursuing vehicle’s driver nudges the back corner of the fleeing vehicle with the front corner of his or her own car; as most vehicles have more weight in the front than the rear, this moves causes the back end of the prey car to break loose, inducing a spin that often brings the vehicle to a halt.
Properly executed, the PIT maneuver is surprisingly non-violent, and results in little if any damage to the vehicles in most cases and very rarely results in injury to drivers or occupants. But in the video below you can see cop’s attempt to stop stolen truck during chase goes horribly wrong.
Taken from a helicopter, the video shows the officer get up close to the rear of the truck and nudge it using a PIT maneuver. While it may have stopped the high-speed chase, it didn’t have the intended outcome.
Police say the 2005 black Dodge Ram was stolen out of Independence. Kansas City, MO, police began following the suspect from the air. Then Kansas Highway Patrol took over from the ground. A police pursuit ended after a stolen truck crashed and flipped on the 18th Street Expressway.
Police said a woman was driving the vehicle. Remarkably, she suffered only minor injuries in the accident, even though she was not wearing a seat belt.