School Bus Driver Death In Norfolk County – Road Surface & Bus Suspension Issues

An understanding of how school buses interact with road surfaces is not only important to bus passenger safety, but to the safety of all road users.

OPP have reported that at approximately 1630 hours on December 6, 2021 a school bus travelling on Norfolk County Road 23 near Long Point struck some trees and came to rest in a “swamp”. A single photo of the bus showed that it was upright but its front end was hidden by some trees and darkness prevented an understanding of what damage might have been sustained.

Gorski Consulting has recently conducted testing with school buses to assess how they react to various road surface conditions. These tests were conducted with both full-size and van-chassis-based buses. The data obtained from this testing showed the extent of lateral and longitudinal motion of the bus. Testing was conducted on various road surfaces including testing over speed bumps (humps). This data can also be compared to the large amount of data collected using a passenger car as the test vehicle. The Road Data page on the Gorski Consulting website provides detailed results of such testing.

Due to  their overall length, long wheel base, height and long rear overhang school buses tend to “bounce” when travelling over uneven road surfaces. Also drivers must constantly be vigilant of the bus tendency to wander with minimal advance warning.

With respect to the current fatal collision on Norfolk County Road 23, there has been no information provided by police as to why the fatality occurred and whether the road surface characteristics or other factors contributed to the collision. Winds were very high in various parts of South-Western Ontario on December 6th but it is unknown whether police found that to be a factor.

When a school bus remains upright, as it apparently did in the present case, the driver is fairly well protected particularly if a seat-belt is worn. Unlike transit buses, the driver of a school bus is seated behind the engine and front suspension. This fact provides for protection from impacts to the front end. However if there was intrusion into the occupant compartment then there is little that can protect the driver.



Riverside at Wonderland – Weeks Without Basic Info Is Needlessly Secretive

London Police have been quoted by news media that their investigation could take “weeks” to complete with respect to the fatal impact of multiple pedestrians at Riverside & Wonderland in London, Ontario on the evening of November 30, 2021. While a full investigation and report could reasonably take that long, the suggestion that not even basic information will be released is unreasonably secretive.

At present no one has publicly released any basic photos of the accident scene on the night of the collision. Photos do not need to be intrusive into the tragic consequences to the struck children. But public release of photos showing the vehicles involved, and the damage sustained, should not hinder the police investigation. There has not even been any mention of the manufacturer or model names of the vehicles. Clearly, how would the release of such basic information be prejudicial to the police investigation? Such a belief is unreasonable.

The type of vehicle operated by the unidentified, westbound,  elderly driver could help explain what type of information might be available for investigative purposes. Most modern passenger cars and light trucks are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) which can provide details of how a collision progressed. If the striking vehicle was equipped with an EDR there is a good chance that crash data would be available from the initial impact at the Wonderland intersection as well as the impact with the lamp standard.

While it is uncommon for an EDR to “wake up” and write crash data from an impact with a pedestrian such results do occur. And if there are more than one pedestrian involved the additional mass could cause such triggering.

Since there is no information about the initial impact at the Wonderland intersection it is difficult to say whether EDR data could be available from that impact. The only information that can be used is the scattering of the red lens material and small particles near the east side of the intersection. Some further photos of this debris are shown below.

This is a view looking west from the westbound curb (right) lane of Riverside Drive, looking toward Wonderland Road. This photo was taken on the morning of December 1, 2021. Broken red lens material and other debris was located near the white traffic stop bar in the background. This evidence was likely part of the collision events that occurred on the previous evening.

This westward view is closer to the white stop bar. Collision debris commenced from approximately 1 car length east of the bar and progressed westward into the intersection for about 20 metres.

This is a closer view showing the broken red lens material that would have come from the rear end of the struck vehicle.

This closeup view of various collision debris is just to the west of the westbound traffic stop bar of Riverside Drive.

This close-up view shows the collision debris extending pass the pedestrian crossing area and into the path of northbound vehicles of Wonderland Road visible in the background. The debris field was in the general range of 20 metres.

Our photos suggest the debris was located generally in the westbound right lane of Riverside. It commenced from about a car length east of the traffic stop bar and progressed almost into the travel path of the northbound traffic of Wonderland. This would be a distance in the range of 20 metres. Such a distance is not minimal and would not be representative of a low-speed impact of a stopped vehicle. We also know that the elderly driver’s vehicle passed by the initial impact and therefore this was unlikely to be a full overlap of the front and rear ends of the vehicles. So, given the limited information, the best approximation is that the impact occurred in the right lane and the elderly driver’s vehicle passed the struck vehicle either to the left or right side of it.

However these are fairly imprecise conclusions based on this very minimal evidence. In fact, we have no evidence yet to confirm the reported information that this evidence was caused by the elderly driver’s vehicle impacting a stopped vehicle. While it is highly likely that this basic information is correct, without basic information such as a photo of any of the vehicles, we are working with unconfirmed presumptions.

At the impact with the lamp standard it was observed that two tire marks we visible on the concrete and those marks were not coming off at an angle of the asphalt, westbound lane. The marks were generally parallel to the concrete area suggesting that the elderly women’s vehicle was travelling  to the north of the westbound lane for a considerable distance before the impact of the lamp standard. Given that the vehicle was likely travelling very quickly this distance would be traversed over a short time. Consider that a vehicle travelling at 90 km/h would cover a distance of 25 metres every second. The distance from the impact at Wonderland to the lamp standard is in the range of about 150 metres. Thus at 90 km/h the distance would be travelled in about 6 seconds.

View of the two tire marks leading into the impact with the lamp standard on the north side of Riverside Drive.

There were yaw marks on the north, grass boulevard indicating that, following the impact with the lamp standard, the vehicle entered into a counter-clockwise (CCW) rotation of about 30 to 40 degrees. For this rotation to occur it would suggest that the impact of the lamp standard was with the left portion of the vehicle’s front end. Such an offset would cause the “moment arm” that would create the CCW rotation. Regrettably this rotation may also have put the right side of the vehicle further onto the north sidewalk, presumably where the struck children were located. Again, these are general comments without having the advantage of knowing where the precise impact occurred with the children.

The patterns of imprinting that exist on tire marks can help investigators to uncover further information about the collision in those areas where the EDR data is not available. Experienced analysts should experience training in identification of such tire mark evidence. But that type of experience rarely exists in the police community.

This view shows the tire marks caused by the elderly driver’s vehicle as it approached the gravel-covered parking area where it presumably came to a stop. The two tire marks in the snow were caused by the right side tires of the vehicle. The tire mark on the left was caused by the right front tire and the tire mark on the right was caused by the right rear tire. Note the differences in the imprints in each. The right rear tire mark shows evidence of non-powered tracking while the right front suggests an action of acceleration. Some of this evidence has deteriorated since it was created perhaps 16 hours earlier. Photos taken by police shortly after the collision could provide better clues to investigators if they knew how to interpret that evidence.

In summary, there is no reason to withhold basic information about this tragic collision. Withholding basic information such as the characteristics of the vehicles involved and indications of the damage sustained is simply too secretive for no reasonable purpose. As an example the OPP regularly provide photos of on-site positions of vehicles and they even provide short video clips explaining their findings with the vehicles positioned in their final rest positions. Such transparency should be standard amongst all police forces in Ontario.



Riverside at Wonderland Fatal Pedestrian Collision – Why Was Elderly Driver Speeding?

Pieces of red taillight lens are strewn in the right lane of Riverside in this view looking west from the east side of Wonderland Road. This is where an elderly driver’s vehicle reportedly stuck another, leading to other events that eventually resulted in an impact of a group of pedestrians.

Why was an elderly driver speeding during her westbound travel on Riverside Drive yesterday evening, November 30, 2021. At some point police reported that she struck a vehicle in the westbound lanes of Riverside on the east side of Wonderland. The woman’s vehicle then continued westward through the intersection of Wonderland. The vehicle then struck down a lamp standard located on the north side of Riverside over 100 metres west of the original impact. The vehicle then travelled onto the north sidewalk. This may be the location where the vehicle struck a group of 11 pedestrians. At least one of those pedestrians, an 8-yr-old, was fatally injured. Rotating counter-clockwise the vehicle crossed from the north to the south side of Riverside where it brushed past the limbs of fir tree. It eventually came into a gravel-covered parking area where the physical evidence came to an end.

In total the vehicle travelled over 200 metres after the initial impact at the Riverside-Wonderland intersection. Post-impact travel distances like these are seen in rural highway collisions, not on city streets. So why does there appear to be a high speed involved. The female driver, reportedly aged 76, does not match the profile of a “Fast and Furious”, gas-pedal-happy, reckless driver. Was there some other reason for this high speed?

This view, looking west on Riverside Drive shows the location, at the orange cone, where the vehicle travelling off the road surface and struck down a lamp standard.

This view shows tire marks leading up the point where the lamp standard, base covered by the orange cone, was knocked down. The vehicle then continued to travel onto the sidewalk in the background.

Yaw marks visible on the north, grass boulevard of Riverside drive show how the vehicle exited the sidewalk then travelled back onto the road surface, and crossed to the south side of the road.

On the south side of Riverside tire marks indicate how the vehicle travelled toward a glancing impact with the branches of a large fir tree, and continued past the tree.

Travelling past the fir tree the vehicle’s path curved to the right where it entered a gravel-covered parking area.

This view is looking back along the path of the vehicle from the gravel parking area in the foreground.


Bus Fire From Guardrail Impact In Bulgaria Kills At Least 45

This is the only image able to be displayed regarding the multiple-fatal bus crash in Bulgaria

We are unable to show any photos related to a very important issue involving the death of at least 45 passengers of a bus that caught fire in Bulgaria. Every image is copyright and cannot be displayed by independents. This is the true problem. Official media agencies who have taken photos and video really have no idea what they possess. They provide general commentary on the evidence then resort to informing the public about what the country’s dignitaries have to say. As typical there is much comment on the terrible tragedy, that prayers must be said for the victims and that, some time in the future, someone will get to the bottom of what happened. But no one ever does get to the bottom, at least not publicly.

Any right-minded person would understand that the most important issue is that a bus, colliding with a guardrail, burst into flames and 45 persons died. That cannot happen. So the focus must be on this narrow issue. How did the bus make contact with the guardrail? What mechanisms were at play that caused the bus to catch fire in a manner that almost all the occupants could not escape the flames? None of the official news agencies pointed out these important issues to the public.

To some Bulgaria might as well be on the planet Mars. It is so far away and irrelevant to North America. It would seem we can move on to the next trivial matter believing that this event has no importance in our lives. Yet it is one of many similar, multi-fatal bus crashes that keep re-occurring in various countries, while also occurring on sparse occasions closer to home. We have an opportunity to learn from what happened and to consider whether it could also happen at home.

Why is it that we accept not being informed about such important matters? Why is it acceptable that very basic facts, such as on-site photos, cannot be displayed and evaluated by persons who might have something of value to pass on to the public? Indeed it is a strange world we live in.

Where is Stopping Sight Distance for Cyclists?

Decades of research and application  in North America has resulted in standardized elements of roadway design for motor vehicle travel. But few of those elements are applied when cycling paths are constructed.

This photo, taken in 2013, shows a view along London’s Thames Valley Parkway at the underpass of the London-Port Stanley railway. The line of sight is severely limited and continues to exist to the present day.

One of the basic roadway design elements is Stopping Sight Distance. Unbeknownst to many, roadways are designed to allow drivers sufficient time and distance to avoid something that may be stopped or lying on a road. Take a fallen tree branch for example that lies across the lane of a road within a vertical curve (a depression or hill), or within a horizontal curve where there is limited visibility. Roadways are built, and maximum speeds are posted, such that a driver should have time to detect and apply braking to allow the vehicle to come to a stop before striking this obstacle. As an example, the driver of a car travelling at 80 km/h is provided with 135 metres of viewing distance ahead of the vehicle. Further stipulations are that the object must be visible over that distance even though it is no more than 38 centimetres tall (about 15 inches) and the driver’s eye height is only 105 centimetres above the ground. Typical car driver eye heights are in the range of 120 centimetres so this 105 centimetres is more like the eye height of a Corvette sports car. In many potential collision scenarios this design element is reasonable. But should such considerations also apply for the safety of cyclists?

Some might point out that cyclists travel much slower than motor vehicles so the danger is not as great. But the design of cars is also controlled by a large number of safety standards that include everything from the padding of vehicle interiors, the collapsing of steering columns, seat-belts, air bags, and so on. What protections do cyclists have? A helmet? Perhaps some wear certain padding on their knees or elbows?

What do we know about the danger of a 20 km/h change-in-velocity (Delta-V) from an impact? We know that motor vehicles can attain speeds well over that. But cyclists can do so also. The “seriousness” of this 20 km/h Delta-V will depend on the time during which it occurs. In motor vehicle collisions such a loss in velocity could occur in about a 10th of a second if the circumstances are right (or wrong). Is such a quick Delta-V also possible in a cyclist collision? It depends on the circumstances but certainly possible. For example, on  March 20, 2018 a male cyclist was killed when he struck a parked Van on Laurentide Drive in North York Ontario.

Fatal injuries can also occur from striking the pavement. For example, in August of 2012 a cyclist caught his tire in the TTC streetcar tracks on Wychwood Ave in Toronto. He fell down and struck his head on the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet and sustained fatal injuries.

Mass is important. Given that the mass of the cyclist and rider is much less than that of a motor vehicle the chances are that whatever is struck may be more massive than the cyclist/bike. And without any substantial padding etc, the cyclist is no more protected than the vehicle occupant who is ejected from their vehicle – and we all know about the danger of that. Remember the old pumpkin commercials that showed the pumpkin flying through the air and striking something like a pole? The pumpkin shatters and the audience understands – ejection is not good. But this is the exact predicament of the cyclist, much like the motorcyclist, who has essentially no protection.

The Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) in London, Ontario presents many examples where sufficient stopping sight distance is not provided for cyclists. However the City of London increases the dangers when it employs four-wheeled vehicles to patrol the parkway without providing any prior warning of the vehicles’ approach. On roadways built for motor vehicles extra-wide vehicles must be preceded by escort vehicles. For cycling paths prior warning must include a traffic control person (TCP) carrying a  double-sided stop/slow sign so that cyclists are warned that they may collide with the much wider and heavier City vehicle. Three examples of City of London vehicles on the TVP are shown in the three photos below.

In this view a City of London golf cart travels around the limited-visibility of the underpass of the TVP on Gore Road in east London. No prior warning is provided of the vehicle’s presence.

A City of London full-size pick-up truck is shown in this view on the TVP near Wellington Road. With no provision of prior warning such a wide vehicle becomes a mobile barrier that, if struck by a cyclist, could produce serious injury or worse.

This City of London pick-up truck is also hauling a wide trailer on the TVP just E of Greenway Park. Note the sharp curve of the trail in the background. Prior warning, such as a traffic control person (TCP) is required whenever such wide vehicles are used on a narrow cycling trail but the City does not provide such warning.

Insufficient stopping sight distance may generate less criticism when it is developed in older areas where sight distance is difficult to achieve. This may occur in certain areas where buildings, bridges or environmental obstacles are difficult to remove. However there are instances where the City of London has created poor sight distance in newly constructed paths. As an example, the TVP provides dangerously limited sight distance at its newly completed segment at Trafalgar Street in east London. The segment in question is shown in the aerial view shown below.

This segment of the TVP was completed in 2018.  When the City built an overpass of the CNR tracks south of this location, it created the problem that northbound cyclists would be travelling at very high speeds down the slope of the overpass as they approached Trafalgar St. Designers likely believed that creating a T-intersection in the path would be sufficient to reduce cyclist speeds before they proceeded down into the underpass of Trafalgar St. But they failed to understand what is typical and normal cyclist behaviour. Cyclists have never followed pavement markings in the manner that drivers of motor vehicles do. The photo below shows how many cyclists “cut the corner” of the designed T-intersection and end up crossing onto the wrong side of the path as they approach the limited visibility at the underpass. In this way the City of London creates a scapegoat when it is able to say that collisions occur because cyclists are not following the rules. While that is somewhat true, the City has also created the design that has created the problem.

A northbound cyclist is shown crossing onto the wrong side of the TVP as he approaches the limited visibility of the Trafalgar underpass.

Furthermore designers failed to understand that the dark confines of the underpass contained pedestrians where the flowing Pottersburg Creek provided an interesting attraction, thus pedestrians stopped to explore the view. A northward view of the Trafalgar Street underpass is shown in the photo below.

View of the underpass of Trafalgar St where the TVP makes an abrupt change in direction causing a very limited line of sight. Pedestrians and other cyclists stop within the underpass causing a dangerous situation.

The photo below shows an example of a young female who has laid herself down across the path in the shadow of the underpass so that she could take a closer look at the flowing water of the creek. Designers of the path never considered that this would happen. And they still have done nothing to correct the problem.

When lines of sight are limited cyclists cannot detect problems ahead that they need to avoid. In this photo a young female has sprawled herself across the path creating a very dangerous situation for herself and any cyclist who would not see her in time.

The City has also begun constructing childdren’s playgrounds that are placed right at the very edge of the TVP. Even with wide open spaces and long sight distances such actions produce potential conflicts between children and cyclists. However, some playgrounds have been erected in areas of poor visibility. An example of this is the playground on the edge of the TVP just west of Adelaide Street. This playground is just west of a hill and horizontal curve. Westbound cyclists travelling toward the playground would see the view shown in the photo below.

This photo shows a westward view along London’s TVP just west of Adelaide Street. Just beyond the horizon of the path lies a newly constructed children’s playground which is positioned right at the edge of the path. For several years there was no warning placed on the path to inform cyclists of the potential that children could be present on the path just beyond this view. Finally, in the summer of 2021 a warning sign was posted as shown in the photo.

Although the City placed a new sign on the edge of the path informing cyclists of the potential presence of small children just beyond the horizon it is questionable how effective such a sign would be. Testing at Gorski Consulting has demonstrated that drivers rarely change their behaviour with the introduction of a warning sign.

Before any new cycling paths are considered designs must conform with standard methodology that has already been known and applied in the realm of motor vehicle transportation. While adjustments need to be made to the design standards for cycling paths to match the unique characteristics of cycle travel, those standards should generally mimic roadway design standards. Unfortunately, cycling paths are being created today which appear to have major flaws in their design leading to safety problems that will plague communities for many years to come. In cities like London Ontario there is a lack of accountability by political representatives and city staff such that they essentially do as they please. Safety problems that are created by inappropriate design are simply left to be dealt with by the City’s risk management department. City representatives complain that the City’s insurance premiums continue to rise and that something must be done at the judicial level to prevent claims from being successful to plaintiffs. Yet these same representatives refuse to accept advice, even when it is given freely, that could reduce the City’s level of risk.

Vehicle Crush Can Be A Good Result

This is not a good result. And “Miraculously believed to be minor injuries” reported by police will need to be verified. But this is a good opportunity to talk about good crush.

Postings on Twitter have been numerous with exclamations of the “miraculous” result when a Nissan Altima was crushed in a severe rear-end impact by the Tractor-trailer yesterday, November 16, 2021, reportedly on Interstate 5 in Mount Vernon Washington.

Comments such as the one below were numerous, and rightfully so:

“Did you say MINOR INJURIES?!? OMG!! Someone was looking out for whoever was in that car, that is unbelievable. Wow, they are going to have one hell of a story for thanksgiving. Remarkable.”

However this gives us an opportunity to comment on “good” crush and the deceiving beliefs that often accompany incidents where major vehicle damage exists.

What if this collision involved a Sherman tank and, after impact, there was no visible crush to the tank? Would that be a good thing? Would it mean that the collision was likely of minor severity? What if the occupant of the tank died? Would we wonder why such a “miraculous” result occurred in such an obviously minor collision?

The point is that vehicle crush can be a good result. In a collision where vehicles possess kinetic energy it is important to dissipate (get rid of) that energy through vehicle crush rather than through occupant contact with the vehicle interior. In the example of the Sherman tank, because its structure is so stiff, it does not dissipate kinetic energy and therefore, during the collision it sustains a massive change-in-velocity over a very short time. This is not good. Because the occupant of the tank must now be involved in the “Second Collision” where the occupant’s body must impact the interior of the tank with a high difference in velocity between the two. So something so seemingly minor is, in fact, something very dangerous and the danger is not apparent because, in our minds, we correlate vehicle crush with collision severity.

No, I do not recommend that you should be involved in the collision shown above, and further demonstrated in the additional photo below.

Given the number of internet hoaxes that exist I take the approach that “I will believe it when I see it”, as I have never seen a collision like this in over 40 years of reconstructions where someone has survived.

Questionable Fatal Injuries to 5-Year-Old Child in Car Frontal Impact With Tree in Toronto

When a questionable child death occurs, police and official news media have the only evidence available, in terms of photos, that could expose a potential problem. But what if they refuse to disclose that photographic evidence?

Why does a 5-year-old child die in a car’s frontal impact with a tree where photos suggest this was a moderate severity impact? Yet nothing has been said, neither by officials nor official news media about this discrepancy. Nor can photos of the evidence be made available to the public by an independent agency.

It has been reported that just after 2100 hours on Saturday, November 13, 2021 a 31-year-old female driver lost control of her car and struck a tree. Photos at the collision scene show the right side of the white car positioned near a tree. Because these photos are taken by professional journalists operating with official news agencies the photos cannot be reproduced by an independent agency to properly inform the public. While it is known that news media and police often post photos that do not show the important areas of damage to a vehicle, what is visible does not suggest that the impact should have resulted in fatal injuries.

The photos show that the right wheelbase of the car is essentially unchanged. The rearward displacement of a front wheel in a frontal impact is often an indicator of the extent of frontal crush. When there is no rearward displacement of a wheel it means that the frontal crush has not be sufficient to cause that displacement.

The crumpling of the front hood of a vehicle is also an indicator of the collision severity. In the present case the hood shows moderate buckling on the right edge and slightly greater buckling on the left (driver’s) side. Thus there is possibly more crush on the left (driver’s) side which has not been shown in the photos. Yet there does not appear to be any rearward displacement of the base of the left A-pillar. A-pillar rearward displacement is another indicator of frontal impact severity.

Thus, even through the photo documentation is incomplete, and unexplainably fails to show crucially relevant portions of the front end, there is no indication that this collision should have resulted in fatal injuries to any occupant in the vehicle.

What is particularly disturbing is that, along with the child’s injuries, the female driver’s injuries are also questionable. A witness reported watching emergency personnel removing the female driver from the vehicle. The witness observed that the driver was motionless, had facial injuries and the emergency personnel were applying cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Even if  there were complications in the collision which led to the fatal injuries of one occupant, there is no explanation why a second occupant should sustain life-threatening injuries in such a frontal impact. Even if the occupants were unrestrained and not protected by air bags their chances of sustaining life-threatening injuries in this type of impact should have been rare.

These are the types of incidents whose results go unnoticed by the general public. Readers of official news items from police and journalists do not have the experience and training to understand when a reported event is not consistent with expectations. This problem is increased when police and news media fail to disclose sufficient photographic documentation that may reveal problems in the information being reported.

The Abbreviated Injury Scale – An Indicator Of Injury Severity In All Collisions

What severity of injury should be expected from this type of impact? Did the roadway, vehicle and driver perform as expected? What about the post-impact consequences such as the vehicle fire? What were the factors that led to or contributed to the collision consequences? To answer such questions basic education is needed in many areas including how injuries are identified and classified.

The Abbreviated Injury Scale – or AIS – has long been used internationally for coding injury severities in all collisions. But it is not only useful for researchers. The public can get a much better appreciation of the risk of their death through understanding that certain injuries are more likely to lead to death than others.

The AIS was originally developed by American Association for Automotive Medicine (AAAM). That Association has changed its name to Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. The AAAM as described the AIS as follows:

“The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS©) incorporates current medical terminology providing an internationally accepted tool for ranking injury severity. AIS is an anatomically based, consensus derived, global severity scoring system that classifies an individual injury by body region according to its relative severity on a 6 point scale (1=minor and 6=maximal). AIS is the basis for the Injury Severity Score (ISS) calculation of the multiply injured patient.”

As an example, superficial injuries such as cuts (lacerations), bruises (contusions) or scrapes (abrasions), may be coded as AIS=1 because the likelihood of death from such injuries is very low. Conversely the breakage of a thigh bone (fracture of a femur) may be coded as AIS=3 due to the higher likelihood that its complications could lead to death.

In 1974 Susan P. Baker (and associated authors) published a research paper entitled “The Injury Severity Score: Development and Potential Usefulness”. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) was defined as follows:

“An ‘Injury Severity Score’ was defined as the sum of the squares of the highest AIS grade in each of the three most severely injured areas. In illustration, a person with a laceration of the aorta (AIS=5), multiple closed long bone fractures (AIS=4), and retroperitoneal hemorrhage (AIS=3), would have an Injury Severity Score of 50 (25+16+9). The highest possible score for a person with trauma to a single area is 25. Use of the Injury Severity Score dramatically increased the correlation between severity of injury and mortality, as compared to using the AIS grade for the most severe injury.”

The AIS and ISS have been used by researchers for decades to describe collision injuries from all types of collisions, including pedestrian, motorcycle and all other events where humans have sustained injury.

So what does all this mean in practical, layman’s terms? Obviously, not all injuries are the same. Some injuries, such as decapitation (AIS=6) are currently untreatable and result in certain death. Yet the results of decapitation are not as monetarily significant as a lesser-severity injury to a spinal cord of a child resulting in quadriplegia and concentrated treatment throughout a prolonged lifetime. Those studying injury mitigation must sometimes make hard decisions about public safety with respect to creation of environments that reduce monetary costs or reduce the likelihood of death. The public may not recognize that the design of a transportation system must take into account the likelihood of certain types and severities of collisions.

For example, limited access freeways take away the likelihood of severe head-on collisions so that the severe injuries related to such occurrences are thus removed. Similarly vehicles are designed, not to prevent injury, but to channel those injuries into certain types that may be less expensive or less likely to cause death.

In the example of a side impact into a driver’s door, the interior of a door may be designed to be closer to the driver’s pelvis so that the door’s intrusion makes contact with a driver’s pelvic region early in the collision pulse. Thus the body’s lateral acceleration is commenced at an early time in the collision pulse. Meanwhile a side curtain air bag may reduce the likelihood that the driver’s head will move out through the side window and be struck by the edge of the hood of the striking vehicle. Yet some impacts into a driver’s door may produce such massive intrusion that even interior design and air bags may be sufficient. This is an instance where researchers and manufacturers must protect the occupant from the most common injury scenarios while accepting that a small number of scenarios may result in death.

The public needs to be aware that certain collision scenarios result in certain types and severities of injury. In some instances reported injuries do not match the collision scenario and those instances need to be revealed and investigated. As an example, the death of a driver of a passenger car that collides with the rear end of tractor-trailer should be suspicious if the collision appears to be of minor or moderate severity. When the front end of a car under-rides a trailer’s rear end there may not be proper engagement between the contacting surfaces such that the decision-making module controlling the car’s air bag may not initiate the deployment until a later time of contact. Meanwhile the driver’s body moves forward into the zone where the air bag is to deploy and an “Out-Of-Position” (OOP) injury occurs when the air bag deploys into the driver’s head and chest regions. Those responsible for the public’s safety may not be willing to report such an occurrence despite the danger of doing so. There are many instances where an unaware or uneducated public allows such instances to escape detection and the results only become known to the small, special-interest groups who must answer to those results.

Having some basic knowledge of injury severities and how injuries are coded can be of use to the general public. The AIS and the ISS are two internationally recognized coding schemes that, combined with other public knowledge, can be used to develop informed opinions about where road safety issues exist.

Uninformed opinions expressed due to emotional responses from observations of singular events can be damaging to road safety as a whole. The pressuring of politicians, members of road authorities or police to make changes to highway, vehicular or driver characteristics without basic knowledge of the consequences may have the reverse effect than what is intended.  The solution should not result in a discouragement of the public from expressing those opinions. Rather the solution should cause an improved education of that public through transparent discussions about what issues matter. Discussions in layman’s terms, even though not precisely accurate, may be helpful in attracting persons who might otherwise be discouraged by the technical jargon.

Damage From Cable Barrier Impact Is Not What We Want to See – But What Actually Happened?

This photo uploaded to the OPP Central Twitter account needs further explanation to avoid confusion.

A very brief description provided on the OPP Twitter account accompanied 2 photos of a car against a cable barrier and a tractor-trailer nestled against the car. This collision likely occurred this morning, November 11, 2021, on Hwy 400 north of Toronto. In fact only a description of the collision location was provided and a comment that only minor injuries occurred. However such a lack of further information provides much confusion. The second photo is shown below.

This photo appears to show the driver’s seat-belt trapped outside of the driver’s door, as highlighted by the orange circle. Also there is cable damage above the left-rear wheel.

Under normal collision circumstances the large extent of intrusion of the base of the left A-pillar into the driver’s space would be a deadly result. But that is because collisions with such massive intrusion occur when there is a short collision pulse accompanied by massive frontal crush at the left front end such as in a head-on collision with another vehicle. It is highly doubtful that this occurred but then police never provided an explanation. The extent of intrusion seemingly caused by the cable barrier contact is extreme and not expected. It could be partially explained if the tractor-trailer continued to push the car along the barrier, but some explanation would help.

Curiously, the above photo seems to show that the driver’s seat-belt is pinched outside of the driver’s door. This is hard to explain if the seat-belt was being used during the collision but then how could the seat-become positioned outside the driver’s door if the door remained closed? This is a bazaar occurrence that certainly requires explanation.

If the driver was not wearing a seat-belt and if there was massive intrusion into where he/she would be expected to be seated one would question how he/she sustained only minor injuries. Yet intrusion that occurs over an extended time could easily explain lack of injury.

Police cannot be professional journalists but sometimes photos like these need clarification.

Percent Females Cycling on Roads in London Ontario

Gorski Consulting has been making observations of the characteristics and actions of cyclists riding on the roads of London Ontario for many years. For the year 2021 the number of observed cyclists was increased substantially. Such observations can help to determine the safety of cycling in the City while also providing some clues as to how cycling infrastructure could be changed or improved.

One area of interest is the number of females that are observed riding on, or adjacent to City roads. It has been observed that, throughout the years, the observed percentage of female cyclists riding on or adjacent to roads in London, Ontario has been quite small. As we are approaching the end of 2021 there is a substantial amount of new data that continues to support this trend. The table below provides the latest frequencies up to the end of October, 2021.

Overall it can be seen that for the years 2013 through to the end of October, 2021, a total 1730 observations of cyclists have been made. The percentage of female cyclists in this total is only 14.8%. This percentage is fairly consistent throughout the years of observations. At a time when a substantial amount of new cycling infrastructure is being completed in London, there is also considerable hope that the number of cyclists using that infrastructure will increase.

This data shows that there is no indication that recent observations in the year 2020 or 2021 are showing an increase in the percentage of female cyclists. While many more cyclists were observed in 2021, this is likely due to our increased efforts to document more cyclists rather than there being a vastly increased number of cyclists on the roads, although that could also be a possibility. An important question for this data is: How will we increase the number of female cyclists compared to males? And why does this difference in gender of cyclists continue to exist?


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