The lack of useful news regarding the death of two occupants in a fiery collision on Saturday evening, November 14, 2020, should be disturbing to anyone concerned about public safety. Yet this comes on, November 15th, that is internationally marked as a day of remembrance of those who have died in motor vehicle collisions.
The scant information coming from official news media indicated that a single vehicle “crashed into a guardrail and caught fire” on Highway 427 near Highway 409 near Toronto, Ontario. One of the news agencies claimed that the driver of the vehicle fled the scene and was still at large.
Several photos of the vehicle were shown by news agencies but these cannot be shown here due to copyright laws. These photos were taken in night-time conditions and therefore the details of the damage are difficult to decipher. They seem to suggest that there was a massive amount of frontal crush across the complete front end of the vehicle. This should be contradictory to the news that the vehicle struck a guardrail since such crush should not exist from striking a rail. Also, a fire should not be expected from an impact with a guardrail. Furthermore, if there was extreme crush at the vehicle’s front end it would seem suspect that a driver could have fled the scene without significant injury.
This demonstrates, once again, how the public is provided with very limited information about such deaths. Because they are infrequent, and because there is so much extraneous information battering the public’s psyche, the importance of this incidence is quickly extinguished, much quicker than the fire itself. In some future occasion someone else will meet a similar fate without any concern whether the death could have been prevented or whether some kind of malfunction occurred that could have been corrected before the tragedy occurred.
Vehicle fires, in particular, should be of high concern because they defeat all the safety systems engineered into vehicles and roadways. When a person is trapped in a vehicle that has caught fire there are limited options available to save that person. So it is highly important to determine how and why a fire was started and what can be done to prevent that fire in a future collision. It can be seen from the scant reporting, and from the lack of important questions being put to police and fire officials, that the lack of information is a disturbing, recurring problem.