Thursday, 9 March 2006

Crash detectives

Yesterday I watched a program on BBC about a team of Greater Manchester Police Officers who do nothing but investigate Road Traffic Accidents where there is a fatal, or a serious injury. It showed the careful examination of the scene of the accident, looking for skid marks wasn't the half of it. In two of the accidents shown they were actually looking for, as they called it, body tissue. In the first crash, a single vehicle incident they matched up marks on curbs with scuff marks on a wheel rim which showed the driver had lost control, hit one curb them hit the curb on the other side of the road before going side on into a brick wall. The drivers side took the impact and he died. As some times happens the passenger had minor cuts and bruises. The car and the wall were wreaked.

The third accident interested me the most as it involved a Stagecoach Manchester Bus which had come into contact with a pedestrian. The road, Oxford Road in front of theBBC in Manchester was closed while the team tried to work out what had happened. In order to decide if the pedestrian had been dragged along by the bus one of the team lay in the road and examined the underside of the bus for any sign of human tissue. As he said later on in the program he felt like a vulture, just waiting around for a serious crash and them swooping down and digesting the evidence. Important work which could end up with a motorist spending time in prison, but could equally end up clearing an innocent driver. In the case of the car that hit the wall it turned out the driver was twice over the drink drive limit. In the case of the bus, CCTV footage didn't show the accident its self but it did show that the bus had driven through a green traffic light 10 feet before the collision point. The pedestrian, who could not remember the incident almost certainly walked out in front of the bus without looking.

Over the last few years we have had several serious crashes where the road has been closed while our local crash detectives have investigated the cause of an accident. At times it seemed to me that the delays these investigations cause have been a little over the top. Watching this program makes it easier to understand why they have to take so much time to make sure that when they report, they get it right.

To day I came very close to being the centre of the attention of Devon and Cornwall's Crash Detectives. As we approach Sherborne Rd in Newton there is a 'Y' junction. The main road bends away to the right and is controlled by traffic lights. We take the road off to the left. There were two cars waiting in front of me at red lights but there was plenty of room for me to go off to the left. Just as I about to past the second car at the light the door was thrown open and a leg was thrown out. Before the body could follow I managed to blow the horn. The leg retreated back into the car and the door slammed with some haste. In these situations I have given up shouting at any one. It doesn't do any good. I just mutter something quietly to myself. What I muttered to was, "I hope I frightened you lady, because you sure frightened me."

Thinking about it a little later I realized that if I had been ten feet futher back the outcome would have been totally different. She would have had time to have got out of the car and all me blowing the horn would have done would have made her turn and look just as the bus would have hit her. I don't think she will open a passenger side door of a car again for a while without looking round very carefully. At least I hope not.

News Item in Duplicate Bus

No comments: