A pedestrian lying in a live lane of a road is not an expected occurrence. Those judging a driver who strikes the pedestrian are often focused on the tragic result rather than understanding if the driver was capable of detecting the object and then recognizing it as a pedestrian.

In the past 24 hours two pedestrians have died from preliminary findings that they were lying on a road when struck. Yesterday evening, August 20, 2021, a pedestrian was found lying in the area of Neilson Road in Scarborough. On the same evening another pedestrian was killed on Tashmoo Ave in Sarnia Ontario after he reportedly struck while lying on the road. Both of these instances are tragic and investigations often focus on the driver who is accused of failing to stop for the pedestrian who should have been seen. Even expert analysis can demonstrate that sufficient lighting was available and therefore a driver should have had time to stop. But there is a difference in ease of detection versus ability to identify that is often misunderstood. The problem is that a body lying on a roadway is difficult to identify and differentiate from something like a garbage bag. That identification requires substantial time which is often not available to a driver travelling at typical roadway speeds.

It takes time for a driver to observe an object and identify it, particularly if it is something that is uncommon. In this photo an elderly man in dark clothing must be examined from a fairly close distance and substantial time before he is identified.