When fatal results occur in relatively minor collisions further answers are warranted. The above photo was provided by the OPP on their Twitter account in identifying that this collision resulted in a fatality, presumably in the dark SUV that is seen against the median barrier. The red car in the right foreground shows damage that would have occurred from striking the dark SUV. It should be recognized that the damage to the left front corner of the red car is minor and, given that forces in a collision are equal and opposite, the severity of the impact experienced by the dark SUV should also be of a similar nature given that neither vehicle is greatly more massive than the other. So why did this fatality occur? The dark SUV is shown pressed against a concrete barrier as highlighted by the orange circle in the above photo. What effect did this other impact have on the fatal consequences?
The OPP provided a second photo which is shown below but the severity of the dark SUV’s impact with the median barrier is hidden by the cropping of the photo. Yet two areas (pointed out by the orange circles) provide an indication of the severity of the barrier impact.
The orange circle at the rear of the left-front wheel-well shows that the left front wheel has been pushed backwards. While this suggests a moderate level of crush it does not demonstrate a situation that should cause fatal injuries to a seat-belt restrained driver who should also be protected by an air bag.
The second orange circle shows the status of the lower A-pillar. When front end crush is severe the A-pillar will be displaced rearward. There is no displacement of the base of that A-pillar. Also, other evidence such as the status of the base of the windshield also confirms no rearward displacement. Thus there should be no structural intrusion into where the driver was seated and we should basically be dealing with the collision force as the cause of the injury. But it is highly likely (from what is visible in the damage evidence) that the collision force was insufficient to cause a properly protected driver to sustain fatal injuries. So again, why did this driver die? While there are some suspicions, the police ought to provide, at a minimum, an advisement to the public about what conditions existed to cause this result.
It needs to be emphasized that, in comparison to other police jurisdictions, the OPP are more transparent in providing on-scene photos of significant collisions and therefore the results can be evaluated by independent entities. Unfortunately they are not as transparent as they ought to be when it comes to informing the public about factors that lead a fatal result. The public ought to be informed of those factors that could lead to their future death and to have a say in what changes ought to be made on the public road system to nullify the effect of some of those factors.