Bad expert analysis

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Black Cat
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:31 am

Bad expert analysis

Postby Black Cat » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:59 pm

My blood pressure began to rise today as I was browsing the website of our local rag today. I was reading about a fatal road accident, where one person was sadly killed - it probably made a bigger blip on the journalistic radar because of the family connection to one of the journalistic fraternity.

I can't quite believe why the accident investigator would think it relevant that if the coach hadn't been around 10% over the 50mph NSL applicable it might have hit the rear of the car not the passenger side. Perhaps if the car occupants had driven a tiny bit faster or slower they might have been at the junction at a different time; perhaps if they hadn't left late due to feeding the cat, washing the dishes, hanging out the washing etc. they might have been there at a different time; perhaps if a meteorite had hit the coach it wouldn't have been there...

It is more understandable why the family would cling the notion that the speed influenced the accident, or even the outcome of the accident. I doubt it did either. It seems from the report that it was a terrible misjudgement by the driver (and I won't link it to his age - that is just one possible reason for the error). The only fault it seems you can level at the coach driver is that they had seen the car, and hadn't slowed because they didn't perceive a risk (they were on the priority road after all) - would a different driver have slowed slightly in case of the vehicle pulling out?

I like to think I would have been slowing slightly looking for evidence of movement or uncertainty from the car on the right - there is great visibility on approach, and the signage and road markings clearly identify the hazard.

No doubt the speed limit here will be reduced soon...

fungus
Posts: 432
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:26 pm
Location: Dorset

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby fungus » Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:40 pm

I totally agree with what you're saying.

I read the report after reading the report of the fatal accident in Dunyeats Road Broadstone this morning, after seing the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance fly overhead. The visibilty is very good from the side road, although, like you I think I would have probably eased off the speed a bit if I were the coach driver. However, with the visibility available to the driver emerging out of the side road, one can only assume that it was a terrible error of judgement to pull across the path of a vehicle as large as a coach.

As for the notion that speed influenced the accident, this is usually the case isn't it when there is a bad crash.

You may remember the fatal on Holes Bay Road Poole a few years back where, IIRC, a Mitsubihi Evo left the road and ended up in the harbour. Speed was definately a major contributary factor there, as the driver was estimated to be travelling at around 110mph with passengers in the car. The road is basically a long right hand bend, which was ok at 70mph, as the speed limit was then, but I would imagine 110mph is pushing the limits. Subsequently, the speed limit was reduced to 50mph because there had been two fatalities in recent years. IIRC, the first was a suicide, where a pedestrian ran out in front of an HGV. This was nothing to do with speed, but the authorities have to be seen to be doing something to appease the anti speed campaigners.

Astraist
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:41 pm

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby Astraist » Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:11 pm

I have inspected hundreds of collisions at least, but I'd really hate to pass judgment without seeing so much as even a series of photographs, and these tend not to make it to newspapers for obvious reasons...

The news piece doesn't give us the entire assesment of the collision investigator, and there may be some misinterpertation on the behalf of the author of the article.

Judging suitable speed on the exact timing of a collision is indeed foolish. Had it been a reasonable claim to make I would have used it on numerous occasions, including a good number of pedestrian impacts.

Seeing as the coach driver did brake, I'd argue that had she braked more firmly to begin (and no driver in no incident I've seen does that - hence Brake Assist), than the described result would have been achieved.

It's also worth considering just how hard the impact was. It might just have been over the threshold where it would have been fatal either way....

However, it's possible that the investigator meant to say that is was to be expected of the coach driver to slow down some towards the cross roads, irregardless of the NSL. That in of itself is a valid claim.

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Horse
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Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:20 am

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:17 pm

Replace the coach with a motorcyclist doing 50 . . . Dead rider instead?
My own views. For better or worse :)

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StressedDave
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Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:27 am

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby StressedDave » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:03 am

Actually' if I were the AI on this one, I'd say the same thing - it being an undisputed fact. It's also a Coroners inquest rather than a court of law. In the latter, there would be no way that it would be the coach driver in the dock.
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sussex2
Posts: 522
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:43 am

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby sussex2 » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:39 am

I notice there is a downhill slope towards the junction.
Over the years I have realised that vehicles are more like to pull out at short notice where that is the case.

Based purely on what I have read here, it seems that the bereaved family is hunting around for blame aside from the blindingly obvious; something not at all unusual during periods of grief.

fungus
Posts: 432
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:26 pm
Location: Dorset

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby fungus » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:57 pm

The side road would have give way lines, and that is exactly what they mean, give way to traffic on the main (priority road) irrespective of whether you are a motorist, horse rider, or cyclist etc. This was on the face of it, purely a tragic misjudgement by the driver emerging from the side road, but as usual blame will be apportioned to the driver of the vehicle that is exceeding the speed limit even if only by 1mph.

Nigel.

Black Cat
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:31 am

Re: Bad expert analysis

Postby Black Cat » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:02 pm

Reflecting on it and the replies here I think SD and Astraist raise some good points in that in may well be bad journalism not bad expert analysis. If it is only a partial quote of the AI then what they actually said might well have given a more balanced and nuanced picture.

I wouldn't mind betting that speed of head movement/duration of looks was a significant factor. Commonly with learners I find that at busy junctions they don't move their heads left and right quickly enough and spend too long fixating in one direction. Probably also not an uncommon problem for older drivers as muscles get less willing etc. On an NSL road, 2 or 3 seconds looking in the opposite direction with no recheck before emerging can cause the situation to change dramatically on the blind side.


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