What was the status of the CNR crossing on Amiens Road and did it contribute to the multi-fatal loss-of-control on Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have not released any photos of the collision site where at least 2 persons were killed when a Ford Escape rolled over on Amiens Road just west of London Ontario in the mid-morning of Thursday December 22, 2022. The photos that are available are the property of various news organizations that will not allow their photos to be shown except through their outlets. The difficulty with this result is that crucial information cannot be fully discussed with respect to the possible causes of the crash.

The crash site is close to a Canadian National Railway (CNR) crossing. Amiens Road is also a lightly travelled road that would not garner the attention of road maintenance personnel in comparison to more travelled highways. Also a Ford Escape is known to be a vehicle with a higher centre-of-gravity, narrower track width and a shorter wheelbase compared to other light, passenger vehicles. Combining these facts unbiased investigators should consider the involvement of the railway crossing as a possible contributor to the Escape’s loss-of-control.

Unfortunately the OPP are the only entity that is allowed on the collision site to conduct their investigation. No one else has the opportunity to follow-up with an independent study should there be questions about the OPP conclusions. This is unfortunate because the OPP have no objective means to evaluate road surface problems that could lead to a vehicle loss-of-control.

At Gorski Consulting there has been an extensive evaluation of road surface conditions and their effect on the motion of a vehicle. The Road Data page of this website contains the details of numerous tests that have been performed throughout south-western Ontario that have documented the response of a test vehicle to a variety of road surface conditions. More specifically testing has been done on railway crossings, bridge junctions and speed bumps that would relate specifically to the current case.

The text below is a summary of a website article posted on the Gorski Consulting website on July 25, 2018. It describes testing that was conducted on a railway crossing on Hardy Road in Brantford, Ontario. This is the type of testing that should be conducted on the Amiens Road site to assess the condition of the railway crossing.


by Zygmunt Gorski | Jul 25, 2018 | News

The results are now in from the testing that was conducted on the CN rail crossing of Hardy Road in Brantford, Ontario.

The Brantford Expositor newspaper had run a story regarding complaints by local residents regarding the “deplorable” condition of the CN rail crossing at Hardy Road in Brantford. Gorski Consulting visited the site on July 23, 2018 and testing was done to determine the effect that the crossing had on the motion of a test vehicle.

There was considerable longitudinal and lateral motion caused to the test vehicle travelling eastbound at just 28 km/h. The standard deviation of the Longitudinal Rotation was 0.0979 radians per seconds, while the standard deviation of the Lateral Rotation was 0.1744 radians per second. These values can be compared to the data shown on the Road Data webpage of this Gorski Consulting website.

The motion caused when travelling westbound was not as dramatic.

For the westbound test the standard deviation in the Longitudinal Rotation was 0.0642 radians per second whereas the standard deviation in the Lateral Rotation was 0.0985 radians per second.

Three tests were performed in each direction.