Vehicles in accidents should be examined by forensic technicians to determine cause

Dear Editor,

It is becoming commonplace nowadays to see vehicles running off roads and ending up in trenches or people’s property.  More often than not the reason that seems to be gaining widespread currency is that the driver was speeding.  My question almost always is “did a technically competent person conduct an examination of the vehicle involved to determine whether or not malfunction(s) due to manufacturer defect or any other cause might have played a role in the accident?”  What piqued my interest was a recent local news item on radioactivity and vehicles coming out of Japan and echoing concerns expressed in Japan and Australia following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami which damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.  To my mind those concerns are aggravated especially when I read of manufacturers recalling structurally or mechanically defective vehicles worldwide, and I wonder if the vehicle models in question are recalled from Guyana.  Put another way are we in this country as concerned as we should be about manufacturer-defective vehicle models which are recalled in other places but are to be found on our roadways?  Editor, we need to be shocked out of our complacency particularly in light of the preponderance of reconditioned vehicles of doubtful integrity in this country, and the voluntary nature of the recall.  It could be argued that the vehicles affected are those which are assembled in this or that country, but the fact remains that I am not encouraged by the lack of mildest interest on the topic of vehicle recall.

Anyway, back to my initial observation related to the technical examination of vehicles involved in accidents etc.  Editor, please note that I have refrained from specifying the type of accidents where examination is required.  Under safe conditions the examiner (or forensic technician) should treat all vehicles involved in accidents as mobile scenes, and be able to examine several vehicle components including but not limited to suspension; tyres; brakes; light bulbs; structural integrity; driver controls; restraint; systems; and door and seat security.  The primary consideration should be the determination of whether factors other than the ubiquitous claims of speeding played a part.

In my humble opinion such an examination should be done as soon as practicable to prevent deterioration or contamination of possible evidence, and to provide authorities with the necessary proactive input in road safety operational policy-making.

Yours faithfully,
Patrick E. Mentore

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