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Thread: Is it in the Public Interest ? ? ?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Jaguar XF 3.0D V6

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    Default Is it in the Public Interest ? ? ?

    This is definitely not intended to invite negative comments, just to educate and help understanding.

    Recently I have been affected by 2 total closures of the M1 during evening busy periods. One was due to a car fire, the smoke from which was obscuring the road. I wonder why the road was closed for ages instead of putting the burning car out, but that’s a different story….

    The other one was last night. The M1 was closed between J25 and J24A in Southbound direction from 3 pm to approx 9 pm (I’m led to believe anyway). This caused approx 20 miles of tailbacks southbound and approx 10 miles of tailbacks on the unaffected and fully open north bound carriageway. I was travelling North.

    Anyway, the point of this thread is to ask basically why does it take SO long to remove casualties, remove debris and get the road running again? I went past the scene at 18:30 and could see both cars and truck in the carriageway and I couldn’t really see any activity except for a guy putting out cones between lanes 2 and 3 (maybe to open a single running lane past the scene?) There were no ambulances anywhere and no-one in the vehicles.

    The traffic built up behind the scene was being turned round and sent Northbound to exit at J25, on the ‘wrong side of the road’ if you like. This was all under control. Some longer HGVs clearly couldn’t be turned round and were parked up (lucky them with fridges, beds, TV, microwaves etc,)

    As I am in the car for extended periods on my own, it gives me time to think about things.

    I understand that there was a fatality at the scene (which must be very difficult for relatives etc), and that information has to be gathered to ascertain what happened and to determine any appropriate blame (and any legal proceedings by CPS)

    What I don’t understand is why it takes so long to do this activity.

    The fundamental question is what activities happen and what evidence is gathered additional to the many, many eye witness statements (which need not be taken at the roadside, but could be done in the safe confines of the next service station (5 minutes, max), for example) to assist in determining what went wrong?

    I did a tiny calculation and estimated that approx 50,000 vehicles would have been affected for on average one hour on the motorway (and this is before you consider extra journey times for the diversion). Assuming an average occupancy of 1.5 people per car, then that equates to 75,000 WASTED man hours only for the directly affected vehicles queuing on the motorway. Clearly far more people will be affected by long delays on diversionary routes. But taking the 75,000 hours – that equates to 8½ Man years.

    Does the extra information gleaned from the scene, information that the many eye witnesses couldn’t give, justify this 8½ man years wasted as a direct consequence due to delays on the actual motorway only? This clearly does not begin to calculate the true cost to the country and economy as a whole. What extra info can be taken? Do eye witnesses not supply the vast share of the total information recorded?

    Basically, is it in the ‘public interest’ to close the motorway for extended periods of time?


    This has turned into war and peace, but it’s a worthy question.
    Last edited by Ste; 8th October 2008 at 10:32.

  2. #2
    Regular Member cornishpirate's Avatar
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    Being all the way down in Cornwall I don't get to drive on motorways very often but I think there are similar happenings here when there are bad accidents.

    I tend to look at it from the point of view that if it were a member of my family that was killed or seriously injured in one of these accidents then it wouldn't matter to me how long the road was closed in order to assess what had happened if lessons were learned and it could help avoid someone else having a similar experience.

    There is generally a good reason for these road closures and where the question of safety and proper investigation of an incident is concerned no amount of time is too much time.

    sorry for everyones inconvenience at the time but this is short lived compared to the time it takes to get over the loss or serious injury of a loved one.

    just my opinion but i think it's a valid one

  3. #3
    Regular Member MLC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ste View Post



    As I am in the car for extended periods on my own, it gives me time to think about things.
    I'd avoid that..it's dangerous

    Quote Originally Posted by Ste View Post

    The fundamental question is what activities happen and what evidence is gathered additional to the many, many eye witness statements (which need not be taken at the roadside, but could be done in the safe confines of the next service station (5 minutes, max), for example) to assist in determining what went wrong?
    First mistake, statements are not taken at the roadside, they are done later. The recent fatal on the M6 involving the footballer involved hundreds of man hours taking statements, travelling all over the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ste View Post


    Does the extra information gleaned from the scene, information that the many eye witnesses couldn’t give, justify this 8½ man years wasted as a direct consequence due to delays on the actual motorway only?
    There's is a vast amount of information that eye witnesses cannot give. Accounts of witnesses sat in the same car often differ greatly (known as perceptual distortion) Everything from the position and type of damage to the grip levels of the road surface are examined. This is to confirm or negate any explanations from the defence. A lawyer has a lot of time to dream up something that may cast doubt on a prosecution case, we have to be able to counter these (often spurious) defences.

    And having spent a number of years having drivers trying to kill me at the scene of RTCs, the only safe way to do it is to close a m/way. A m/way is a very dangerous and lonely place when some blind idiot is driving at you.

    It is always a priority to get the road open and it is never closed longer than necessary. It's a pain when you're stuck in the queue, but if it was your relative who was dead in the wreckage, you might have a different view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MLC View Post
    A m/way is a very dangerous and lonely place when some blind idiot is driving at you.
    Says it all really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MLC View Post
    I'd avoid that..it's dangerous







    There's is a vast amount of information that eye witnesses cannot give. Accounts of witnesses sat in the same car often differ greatly (known as perceptual distortion) Everything from the position and type of damage to the grip levels of the road surface are examined. This is to confirm or negate any explanations from the defence. A lawyer has a lot of time to dream up something that may cast doubt on a prosecution case, we have to be able to counter these (often spurious) defences.

    And having spent a number of years having drivers trying to kill me at the scene of RTCs, the only safe way to do it is to close a m/way. A m/way is a very dangerous and lonely place when some blind idiot is driving at you.

    It is always a priority to get the road open and it is never closed longer than necessary. It's a pain when you're stuck in the queue, but if it was your relative who was dead in the wreckage, you might have a different view.


    Its a huge jigsaw that the traffic investigators need to see in situe.
    Correct me MLC if I'm wrong, but arent phot's taken for investigation purposes as to where the vehicles came to rest.
    As MLC said, the road is examined for tell tale marks and scars from vehicles involved.
    I would not fancy doing this with 2 lanes of traffic flying past me.
    After all, we dont want any more injuries or fatalities do we?

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    Regular Member cornishpirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MLC View Post



    It's a pain when you're stuck in the queue, but if it was your relative who was dead in the wreckage, you might have a different view.

    I think MLC's qualifed comment sums it all up

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    Regular Member MLC's Avatar
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    Photos are taken, but the scene is always surveyed so a very accurate plan can be produced.

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    I think that the whole investigation of Serious RTC's is a fascinating science. Is that the side you are involved in MLC or is it a Roads Policing Unit that you work for?

    Interested in getting into the Roads Policing up my way for many reasons.

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    Regular Member MLC's Avatar
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    I've been attending and investigating fatals for around 10 years. (Previously as the OIC, now as the SIO). Work on the motorways now, so while they are less frequent than A and B roads, they tend to have multiple casualties.

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    So you are a Sgt (or above)?
    I admire the way teams of Traffic officers are so professional and thorough in their investigations. Its a great skill to have, and they do far more than "Just Give out tickets all day".

    Nothing gets your brain working better than dealing with RTC's IMO

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