Two recent fatal collisions demonstrate the lack of attention being paid to the cause of death in a vehicle collision.
News media reported on May 4, 2021 that a two-vehicle collision occurred near Milverton, Ontario which resulted the death of an 84-year-old male occupant. No mention was made of a fire. Another news agency then provided on-site video footage that clearly showed a large fire had consumed a vehicle.
In a second incident, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, Peel Regional Police reported that a driver of a single vehicle was deceased as a result of a collision on Burnhamthorpe Rd in Mississauga Ontario. Mention was made of a vehicle fire but no explanation was given with respect to its relevance to the deceased.
In both instances a pattern of non-disclosure emerges that has gone on for many years and this is consistent with other reports of deaths in collisions. While police and news media are quick to report causal factors such as alcohol impairment, driver distraction, vehicle issues, etc., rarely is it reported that a post-collision vehicle fire may have led to a death. The cause of a death needs to be known whether it is caused by inappropriate actions of a driver, vehicular issues or roadway issues. When police make decisions about what they will reveal, that hide problems that could endanger the public, they contribute to the future death and injury of future occupants who are unaware of those dangers. This bias must be corrected.