Catching speeders during the Covid-19 pandemic can be more dangerous to police stopped on the highway. This observation is re-enforced from the tragic news of four police officers who were struck and killed on the Eastern Freeway near Kew in Victoria Australia two days ago.

It is reported that two officers in an unmarked cruiser pulled over a Porsche 911 for speeding at 140 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. Upon determining that the driver could be impaired they called for the assistance of two other officers in another, marked cruiser which stopped behind the unmarked cruiser. The marked cruiser had its emergency lights flashing. Under these conditions Australian legislation requires that passing traffic must reduce speed to 40 km/h. All four police officers were reportedly outside of their vehicles in an emergency lane.

A tractor-trailer travelling at the speed limit of 100 km/h reportedly veered into the emergency lane and struck the marked cruiser and then the other two vehicles were struck in a chain reaction. The Porsche driver was not injured and left the site before surrendering himself to police the next morning.

It must be emphasized that the legislation did not prevent this collision. The truck travelling at 100 km/h is even slower than the governed speed of almost all trucks travelling on Ontario’s highways. What is needed is a thorough analysis of how and why this truck ended up veering into the emergency lane. This has nothing to do with charges against a single driver but it has everything to do with preventing tragedies like these from occurring here in Ontario.

Driver behaviour on the highway is complicated and requires a scientific approach that involves an unbiased assessment of all the factors involved. This is the best method for keeping both police and members of the public safe.