Needless tragedies occur when we keep road safety problems hidden from public awareness. When vehicles are impaled by roadside structures the results are often hidden. This prevents the public’s momentum to correct those safety problems.
In the most recent case which occurred on February 10th, 2021, a driver sustained mysteriously fatal injuries after his vehicle struck a chain link fence along the property of Hanna Memorial Public School in Sarnia Ontario. Although the vehicle remained on the school grounds a large tarp was placed over its complete perimeter as the body of the victim was still in the vehicle. While there was good reason to cover the vehicle there was no reason to hide other portions of the scene such as the condition of the chain link fence which had been struck. The obvious fact that “a section of the school yard fence along Russell Street was damaged”, as reported by local news media, was not accompanied by any photos of that fence. In fact, a photo of the tarped vehicle was so closely cropped that it prevented any view of the damage to the fence. No mention was made by any official party as to how the driver sustained the reported fatal injuries. So, in fact, the public would know nothing about the possibility that the vehicle might have been impaled by the fence and that the fatal injuries could have been caused by that impalement. This type of concealment causes the enablement of injury and death that could be prevented if such tragic results were known.
At Gorski Consulting the dangerous existence of roadside structures that have impaled vehicles has been reported in several articles on this website. Despite our efforts there has been no other entity who has provided a similar warning. The result is that many of these dangers continue to exist, and remain uncorrected, waiting for the next unfortunate driver to experience a tragedy.
Warnings have exhibited themselves in relatively minor collisions where the danger has been ignored. As an example, in the summer of 2011, a London city transit bus was involved in a collision with a passenger car at the busy intersection of Wellington Road and Commissioners Road in London, Ontario. Following this impact the bus crashed through a chain link fence, as shown in the three photos below.
Yet nothing was mentioned about the metal post of the chain link fence that had penetrated the windshield of the bus, as shown in the two photos below.
Nothing was said because there was no injury directly related to this occurrence. Yet the potential of injury was obvious if anyone cared to consider it. The photo below shows a close-up view of the upper tube that ran along the top of the fence. The connections of these tubes were easily separated when the fence was dislodged.
The photo below shows the deformed end of one of these tubes. This would be the harpoon that could pierce into a vehicle interior and impale an occupant.
In another incident that occurred in February, 2016, at the intersection of Wharncliffe Road and Horton Street in London, Ontario, the photo below shows a horizontal tube from a roadside railing that pierced the windshield of a striking passenger car.
Closer views of the struck railing are shown below. Again these horizontal tubes become the harpoons that penetrate through a striking vehicle.
And again, at a location at the intersection of Oxford and Quebec Streets in London, Ontario, another railing has existed as the edge of traffic for a number of years, as shown in the photo below.
Because the railing is so close to the passing traffic it is especially dangerous. As shown in the photo below, in winter conditions the roadway can become covered in snow and therefore slippery. A vehicle could easily slip on the snowy surface and slide into the railing.
Safety problems like these exist because the general public is not aware of them and how they can cause injury and potential death. When collisions like the one at the Hanna School in Sarnia are not properly identified to the public there is no impetus to make corrections. Senseless and needless injuries and fatalities occur because of this secrecy.