38 State Police Cars Hit Last Year
This Associated Press article caught my eye.
HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut state police union leaders and Gov. M. Jodi Rell are at odds over whether to spend $600,000 in federal funds to improve markings on police cruisers.
The unions representing Connecticut’s troopers and police supervisors say there are better ways to spend the money, which is part of $12 million from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Rell’s office says 38 state police cars were hit last year while stopped, and that adding reflective chevrons on rear bumpers or other high-visibility markings will help prevent more collisions.
Union officials say while more markings would be nice, the cruisers’ flashing lights and existing markings make them easily visible to attentive drivers.
They say people who hit cruisers usually are drunk, inattentive or have other problems.
So I think about this and I wonder where it will all stop? When will government, engineers and people will stop thinking that technology will somehow solve the problem of people looking but not seeing and all the other problems that people have when driving?
First, there is the “100 Car Study” that sys that up to 80 percent of the crashes or near crashes are caused by inattentive, distracted or drowsy driving.
Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness.
“This important research illustrates the potentially dire consequences that can occur while driving distracted or drowsy. It’s crucial that drivers always be alert when on the road,” said Jacqueline Glassman, acting administrator of NHTSA.
I am seeing all sorts of odd ball things that are supposed to reduce the number of crashes caused by inattentive driving:
- Employees of all types now have to wear bright green or orange shirts or vests. Even when they aren’t anywhere near a road. Note that the managerial types who are out there with the workers wear normal clothes.
- Flashing lights on the back of Orlando Fire Department trucks that stay on all the time.
- Blinking tail lights
- Modulating motorcycle headlights
- An elderly woman drives into the side of the train in Mount Dora. The answer? Stop signs at every crossing ala old Georgia law.
I see very little evidence of these things actually snapping people out of their stupor. What I do see is “evidence” like you see in Mount Dora: since the stop signs went up, there has been no more train crashes. Yet, in most places in Georgia, either the crossing has been upgraded or the signs were removed. The signs were removed because they really don’t help. Some people would treat the stop signs at railroad crossings like they treat stop signs everywhere, they don’t look, if they even scan.
We have come a long way since the “lighted cannonball” kerosene torch commonly used until the ’60′s. All sorts of bright work lights, huge signs, flashing lights, police cars and all the expenses that go with all that yet cars still crash into highway construction sites, often killing people. Sixteen people killed in one Florida county in one year!
Some people’s answer is to remove the victims from the road. After all, it’s not really the driver’s fault if he accidentally hits something like a bicycle or a pedestrian. But that begins to stretch credulity.
How can someone not “see” a stopped school bus? Or a see a car legally stopped behind a school bus? It’s big, it’s yellow and it has flashing lights, but here is one man’s answer to that. According to him, it has become too dangerous to have school buses stop on busy roads and, knowing politicians these days, I doubt he is the only one that thinks so.
So the drivers keep day dreaming and the signs get bigger, the lights get brighter, the expenses keep going up and things pretty much stay the same.