Automatic Emergency Braking Will Finally Become Law

Emerging technology cannot solve all of safety problems. And in some instances it just creates new ones. But Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is one technology is that should improve far more than it complicates. Recently the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has introduced the new AEB standard. While it applies to the U.S., safety standards are essentially copied by Transport Canada and will equally affect the Canadian market.

In this example of a multi-vehicle collision on Hwy 403 near Paris Road near Brantford in April, 2023, the mixture of light and heavy vehicles with differing stopping capabilities makes driver reaction challenging, particularly when the view ahead is obstructed. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) could cause emergency braking actions to occur quicker resulting in the reduction of collision severity or collision avoidance altogether.

The following summary is taken from the the introduction of the new standard.

The standard applies to capabilities of avoiding impacts with other motor vehicles and pedestrians. Curiously, nothing appears to be mentioned about avoiding cyclists, although that may exist in the 110-page publication which has not be reviewed in detail at this time.

Another Cyclist Fatality in Toronto That Will Never Be Explained To Those Who Are Being Killed

Once again, we are taken on the same merry-go-round, noting that another cyclist has been killed, but doing nothing about identifying how or why.

News agencies report that a 59-year-old cyclist was killed in Toronto Ontario “on Bayview Avenue at the Don Valley North exit ramp, near the Brick Works” (CP24 News article April 8, 2024). The cyclist was reportedly struck by a 2023 Ford Bronco Sport SUV.

We can note the “very helpful” description of what happened as noted in the police news release: “The two collided causing the cyclist to fall and causing significant injuries”.

It is understandable that collision reconstruction takes time. That is why persons reading such comments believe that, although nothing is known at an early time, it will eventually be unraveled. But the unfortunate reality is that, even though police may unravel what happened, the explanation of what happened will never reach the public that needs to know. And the public has a short memory. Within days the public is bombarded by numerous other news items and the relevance of a cyclist death become irrelevant.

But why does the public need to know? Surely, over the years, it has been understood that how and why collisions occur is only to be known by investigating police and then only known by those to whom the police report the information. Strangely this process has carried on for decades as if it could be an efficient way to improve road safety.

Our view at Gorski Consulting is clear: Anyone who rides a cycle on or near public roads and paths ought to be provided with clear and accurate information about what risks exist that could injure or kill them. At the present time that is not happening.

The evidence is clear, as demonstrated by Dr. Alison Macpherson in her recent research on cyclist collisions in Toronto. Her work showed that police reports of collisions captured only 8% of cyclist visits to hospital emergency departments in Toronto. She also noted that, over a 5-year-period, there were over 30,000 cyclist visits to hospital emergency departments and about 87% of those incidents did not involve a collision with a motor vehicle. Whenever a motor vehicle is not involved police do not have to fill out a report. So this is another reason why vast numbers of cyclist injuries are never made public.

Zameer’s Innocence Raises Sudden Interest In Justice

Apparently you just need an obvious innocence to waken the sleeping public? So now many official entities are questioning why Umar Zameer was charged with first degree murder. Let us roll back the tape…

A collision reportedly occurred in the underground parking garage of Toronto’s City Hall in July of 2021. The collision occurred as plainclothes police officers, including Constable Jeffrey Northrup, approached a parked BMW driven by Umar Zameer, for an unclarified reason. A witness police officer, Constable Tony Correa stated with respect to Constable Northrup’s actions: “His hands hit the hood. He goes up in the air. He bounces off the hood of the car. He lands forward on the floor”. The reported (by CTV news) motions of the BMW in a security video showed “Zameer’s car lurching forward, reversing, and then turning and driving towards the camera position”. The type of contact described by Constable Correa does not appear to be consistent with the lack of vehicle damage as shown in the court exhibit of the BMW shown below.

This front view of the Zameer BMW shows no obvious evidence of damage.

The reason for Zameer’s actions was that he did not know the persons at his vehicle were plainclothes police officers. He thought they were trying to rob him and so he fled. His vehicle was eventually rammed by another unmarked police vehicle and he was subsequently arrested. It is notable that during that arrest Constable Scharnil Pais punched Zameer in the face.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer was quoted as saying the incident was “deliberate and intentional” and that the officers were wearing police identification at the time (CTV news). Zameer was charged with first degree murder.

For a long time after this incident no information was allowed to be revealed because there was a ban placed on the publication of evidence. But, in typical fashion, news media quoted various dignitaries, who apparently knew nothing about the details of the incident including Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford, former Police Chief Bill Blair, and Toronto Police Association President Jon Reid. While they expressed their condolences, none came out to emphasize that they knew very little about the incident and that conclusions should be withheld until further information was known.

It was reported that police were in the parking garage as a result of a reported stabbing. So they were there to “look for evidence”. But it is unclear why the search for evidence resulting in approaching the Zameer BMW to the point that police had to be closeby when Zameer was making his movements out of his parked location. Nor was it clear why police needed to be in plainclothes to collect the evidence about the stabbing. And if the police had worn body camera’s much of the speculation about what occurred might have been nullified.

Zameer’s trial did not commence until March, 2024 or approaching 3 years after the incident.

During the trial prosecutors maintained that “Zameer chose to make a series of manoeuvres with his car that caused Northrup’s death”. Police reportedly banged on Zameer’s window and Zameer drove forward to avoid them. But Zameer’s forward motion was terminated when an unmarked police SUV blocked his path, so he reversed his BMW into the lane before accelerating forward toward the exit. He ran over something that he thought was a speed bump which turned out to be Constable Northrup’s body. Zameer’s perceptions were also affected by his pregnant wife’s stress and his crying son in the back seat.

The testimony from three police officers all provided the same description that Constable Northrup had been standing in front of the BMW and was fully visible to Zameer when he accelerated forward in the laneway. This version was not supported by two experts from the defense and the prosecution who concluded that Northrup was on the ground when he was run over.

Eventually a jury found Zameer innocent of all charges and the judge offered to Zameer “my deepest apologies for what you’ve been through”.

The trial judge raised concerns about the prosecution’s case and even came to the suspicion that the three witness officers who provided their statements colluded to provide a false account of what transpired. Subsequently, Toronto’s Police Chief, Myron Demkiw, announced an independent investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police to shed light on how the prosecution occurred with involvement of the Toronto Police.

Discussion

Some news media are now questioning why a decision was made to prosecute Zameer for first degree murder. Comments made by several local defense lawyers suggested that it should have been clear that the evidence did not support such a charge. Mr. Zameer’s lawyer, Nader Hasan, expressed his belief that the prosecutors in the case were pressured by their superiors to follow through with the charges.

One defense lawyer was quoted in a Canadian Press article as saying “They’re trying to turn something that isn’t a murder into a murder”. The same lawyer also said “The premier of Ontario was putting his thumb on the scales of justice and infecting the public’s views about how they should view this man”. This comment was made in relation to Premier Doug Ford’s criticism of the decision in the fall of 2021 to release Zameer on bail.

The results of the Zameer trial have spurred a renewed interest in Ontario’s justice system and justice as a whole. While there has been previous discussion about the ideals of being innocent until proven guilty, the practical reality is that in many instances that ideal is not met. The Zameer case demonstrates that you may be in jeopardy of being found guilty due to pressure exerted from certain interest groups or persons of high influence. When someone dies, someone has to pay, and a scapegoat continues to be found even when the evidence does not support the charge.

Premier Doug Ford has shown a continued lack of respect for the justice system by interjecting his will to influence it at inappropriate instances. In can be recalled from the past that he tried to appoint one of his friends into the position of OPP Commissioner even though other candidates were more qualified. He also talked about appointing “like-minded judges” who would prevent persons from being released on bail, seemingly ignoring the facts surrounding any specific case. Problems in the justice system grow roots from the top down so that, when the Premier is not an ethical person, he surrounds himself with persons of similar calibre and this process filters through to the rest of the system.

The Family: The Godfather selects his family of accomplices and then attempts to influence the justice system for the benefit of himself and the family.

Respectable members of the justice system cannot function properly when they become accountable to persons who are unethical and corrupt. There is evidence of this dysfunction in all levels and areas of Ontario’s justice system. Inappropriate behavior becomes acceptable and condoned when the upper echelons of the justice system are themselves part of the inappropriate behavior. The possibility of collusion by three witness police officers in the Zameer trial, is an example which suggests that this inappropriate behaviour was not kept in check by those whose responsibility it was to provide that oversight. And the first degree murder charge against Zameer is another example of the inappropriate action of the justice system. It still has not been resolved who was actually responsible for applying the pressure to lay that charge.

McNorgan Found Guilty Without Full Discussion Of Issues

This court exhibit showing the front end of McNorgan’s damaged vehicle illustrates that the public is given only narrow glimpses of the issues surrounding the tragedy where an innocent girl was struck and killed on Riverside Drive on November 30, 2021 in London, Ontario.

Why a 2017 Honda CRV accelerated through an intersection and struck a group of children was the basis for a trial of its driver, Petronella McNorgan. The fatal collision occurred on November 30, 2021 on Riverside Drive in London, Ontario. The trial heard from prosecution experts that McNorgan did not press on the brake, like she claimed, but that she was pressing on the accelerator pedal, as supported by a download from the vehicle’s event data recorder and summarized in a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) report that was entered as evidence. News media reported that on December 13, 2021 the vehicle was inspected by “Transport Canada inspectors, police and a Honda Canada mechanic”.

The prosecution conclusion, as summarized by Constable Blair Jackson, was that “the evidence collected throughout the investigation revealed that the subject motor vehicle was in good mechanical condition, and that the brake system specifically, was in good working order and this was a preventable collision due to driver input”. Strangely, it was reported that McNorgan had been licensed to drive since 1967, or about 54 years when the collision occurred, yet there was no discussion whether, in all those years, she had ever mistook her accelerator pedal as the brake pedal.

The events unfolded on November 30, 2021 when McNorgan was westbound along the downslope of Riverside Drive and approaching the busy intersection with Wonderland Road. Two vehicles were reportedly ahead of her, presumably stopped at the Wonderland intersection. As she applied her brake she reported that the vehicle began to accelerate. It was reported that her Honda struck a Jeep but this was a glancing blow as police believed that such an impact would not trigger the vehicle’s event data recorder to start recording. After this glancing impact the Honda travelled at high speed onto the north roadside of Riverside Drive where it struck a lamp standard with its front end. Following this the Honda continued to travel onto the north sidewalk where it struck a group of children, killing one of them. Following this the Honda travelled in an arcing fashion back onto Riverside, crossing it, and entering the south roadside where it came to a stop.

The progress of the trial in early 2024 was reported by local news media. On March 27th the news media reported that the prosecution was finished with their evidence and that the Judge in the case would ask the defense whether they would call any evidence. On the following day news media described McNorgan’s testimony and she stood fast with her belief that she tried to apply her brake yet her vehicle accelerated. The news media did not indicate that there was any testimony provided by an expert witness for the defense.

The possibility that there was no expert witness for the defense that provided any countering comments to the prosecution’s experts is disturbing. Since the CDR report was never released for viewing by the public important questions about its content can never be answered.

Some questions that needed to be answered include the following.

Was a non-deployment file activated when the Honda struck the Jeep at the Wonderland Road intersection? If a non-deployment file was not created why did the stability control system activated so that it caused the Honda to reduce its speed by about 20 km/h even through the accelerator pedal was presumably pressed to the floor?

What was the status of the rest of the data contained in the CDR report?

Did Defense experts examine the vehicle and conduct their own download of the Honda’s event data recorder?

What did the court know about the details of Honda vehicle control networks and whether any of those could have failed?

Answers to questions like these are unlikely to be provided.

The content of Crash Data Reports is trusted essentially by everyone who examines them. Analysts of such reports regularly discuss various details and problems in internet chat groups. The accuracy and reliability of these reports is safeguarded by government legislation which instructs manufacturers what they must do in terms of providing collision data. As of the year 2013 manufacturers were instructed that, if their vehicles contained the ability to record collision data, such data must be made available to their parties and there must be a list of mandatory data that must be included in any report. The belief is that, those requirements are sufficient to guarantee the trustworthiness of these reports. One difficulty is that no one can be absolutely certain that motor vehicles are functioning safely except through examining the content of these reports. As the functioning of motor vehicles becomes more complex, so are the systems. The details of electronics, software and complex vehicle designs are proprietary information that is only available to the manufacturers for competitive reasons. Only a small part of this information is available through analysis of Crash Data Reports. Given the mandatory parameters that must be reported government officials believe that safety problems can be reliably uncovered. But there is no absolute certainty in that belief.

A review of past instances where motor vehicle manufacturers hid safety related problems likely never reached the jury in the present trial.

For example, it was not that long ago that a driver who was convicted of “criminally negligent homicide” was set free and the conviction was overturned because new evidence revealed that a motor vehicle manufacturer hid crucial information about sudden unintended acceleration in its vehicles. How quickly we forget that in August, 2015, Koau Fong Lee, was sentenced to eight years in prison, and was in prison for two-and-a-half years, before it became known that Toyota failed to reveal certain causes of sudden acceleration of which they were aware. The tragic collision occurred when Lee’s 1996 Camry suddenly sped up and he could not gain control it until he crashed into an Oldsmobile occupied by two adults who were killed and a six-year-old girl who became quadriplegic.

Here are some examples of past misdeeds by motor vehicle manufacturers where safety related problems were hidden for many years.

Toyota Sudden Acceleration

In a U.S. Justice Department report the following summary was provided about the Toyota sudden acceleration defect:

In the fall of 2009, TOYOTA deceived consumers and its U.S. regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), by claiming that it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration in its vehicles through a limited safety recall of eight models for floor-mat entrapment, a dangerous condition in which an improperly secured or incompatible all-weather floor mat can “trap” a depressed gas pedal causing the car to accelerate to a high speed.  Such public assurances deceived customers and NHTSA in two ways:  First, at the time the statements were made, TOYOTA knew that it had not recalled some cars with design features that made them just as susceptible to floor-mat entrapment as some of the recalled cars.  Second, only weeks before these statements were made, TOYOTA had taken steps to hide from NHTSA another type of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor-mat entrapment: a problem with accelerators getting stuck at partially depressed levels, known as “sticky pedal.” 

General Motors Ignition Switches

Ignition switches installed in certain General Motors vehicles led to them being shut off while vehicles were in motion. Such an occurrence would prevent activation of air bags in a crash. The problem existed for many years until a local and independent mechanic uncovered that a spring in the ignition switches was too short. It was further uncovered that a General Motors engineer was aware of this defect but hid it. At last count, in the years around 2016, well over 400 deaths were accepted by GM as related to the defect although the final number has never been revealed.

Takata Air Bags

In February, 0217 Takata pled guilty to charges that it concealed a defect in its air bags that caused them to explode because of the chemical in the inflators did not function properly when exposed to prolonged heat and humidity. Meanwhile plaintiffs in other lawsuits claimed that other manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and BMW had independent knowledge of the Takata defect.

Discussion

It was the opinion of the prosecution experts in the McNorgan trial that two seconds prior to the impact with the lamp standard the vehicle’s stability control system was activated. This caused the Honda to slow down from 121 km/h to 102 km/h at the instant of impact with the lamp standard. Yet they also stated that the accelerator pedal was pressed down 99% throughout the 5 second time before the impact. This is a demonstration of how the systems in the Honda took over and changed the speed of the Honda despite the driver’s actions. It is assumed that the experts did not believe that a similar control could have taken place if McNorgan applied the brake but that somehow the Honda systems caused it to accelerate. This belief would likely come from the CDR report that showed that the brake pedal was not depressed. Yet braking of the Honda had to have occurred because its speed was reduced on approach to the lamp standard impact.

The question remains, what should the brake pedal data look like when the Honda’s stability control system was braking the vehicle? Mechanically, if there is a physical connection between the brake pedal and the brake fluid, the brake pedal increases the pressure in the brake fluid and this pressure travels to the brake calipers which collapse around the wheels’ rotors and thus the vehicle slows down. But it appears that the stability control system had priority over the brakes. The systems engineered into the Honda were such that it was more important to “stabilize” the vehicle rather than allow maximum braking. The word stability is somewhat of a misnomer because what is really happening is that the systems are controlling the rotation of the wheels to achieve the goal of pointing the vehicle in the direction that it is travelling. During this process a substantial amount of tire force must be taken up that might otherwise be available for steering, full-wheel braking or acceleration. While some tire force may remain to steer the vehicle for example, it is not the full tire force that would be available if the stability control system was not engaged. In this sense, there remains some ability to steer a vehicle away from danger but that ability is compromised.

The goal in pointing the vehicle in the direction it is travelling is to prepare the vehicle for any impact that might occur. It is understood that a vehicle striking something with its front end is safer to the occupants than if the impact occurs to the side. So in most instances the logic makes sense. But in some instances the result is not as favourable.

In the present case, after the Honda made a glancing contact with the Jeep it most likely entered into a rotation that needed to be countered and that is why the stability control system was activated. The safety systems imbedded in the Honda likely determined that the most important matter was to stop the rotation. In fact, if the rotation was allowed to continue the Honda might have entered into a sideways slide, or a further spin during which a greater level of deceleration might be achieved than what the stability control system was needing to stop the rotation.

Granted, there was some danger to McNorgan if the Honda began sliding sideways because it is possible that it might approach the lamp standard while leading with its driver’s side. If the lamp standard contact was directly to the driver’s door there could be a substantial danger that might be mitigated somewhat by deployment of a side air bag. But such a direct contact would have to be precisely where the driver is seated to pose a substantial danger.

The further advantage of allowing the Honda’s rotation is that, if McNorgan was indeed pressing on the accelerator pedal there is a reasonable chance that her foot might slip off the pedal due to the rotation. And if the Honda struck the lamp standard with its driver’s side there would be an even greater opportunity to force McNorgan’s foot off the accelerator pedal.

It also becomes important to study what might have happened after the Honda struck the lamp standard. Was the stability control system active after that impact? There is reason to believe that this was the case because of the manner in which the Honda continued to straighten its rotation as shown in the tire mark evidence. The two photos below show the Honda’s tire marks on the north roadside and after it crossed the road onto the south roadside. In the first photo there is evidence that the Honda is in a counter-clockwise rotation (“yaw”) but the convergence of the tire marks indicates that it is straightening out. And by the time the Honda reaches the other side of the road there are only two tire marks so it has now fully straightened out and is pointing in the direction it is travelling. Such a successful straightening of the vehicle’s pointing direction is indicative of the action of the stability control system.

So one can conclude that the stability control system was active from 2 seconds before the impact with the lamp standard and throughout the Honda’s travel after that impact.

The jury at trial should have been instructed about the complexity of modern vehicle control systems and what systems were installed in the version of the Honda CRV driven by McNorgan.

Some CRVs are equipped with a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system. As described by Honda the system is “designed to detect the presence of vehicles in front of you and issues alerts if you’re approaching with too much speed. If you fail to respond to the alerts, the SMBS is triggered”. The Collision Mitigation Braking System (SMBS) is described by Honda as follows: “To help reduce the likelihood or severity of a frontal impact, the available CMBS is engineered to apply brake pressure if you don’t slow down when it senses you’re at risk of a collision. If it still senses an imminent collision, the SMBS is designed to brake firmly”.

So was there any discussion at trial whether the above systems were installed in McNorgan’s Honda? And if the CMBS was installed why did it not apply braking when the Honda made initial contact with the Jeep? Such automatic braking could have prevented the remaining tragedies from occurring.

A number of questions still exist with respect to what occurred at McNorgan’s trial. Unfortunately news media did not provide enough detail to answer these questions.

In incidents like these many persons question why a driver would not gear down or turn off the ignition. Such arm-chair quarterbacking never appreciates how drivers can become confused about what is happening and then must fight with avoiding immediate dangers that are occurring in very rapid succession. Never-the-less good driver training should emphasize to drivers the need to become familiar and practice methods of slowing a vehicle by gearing down or turning off the ignition.

Imperfect Police Agencies Fail To Focus On The Word “Properly”

Police have difficulty wearing seat-belts “properly” due to the accessories they must wear. But there is less excuse for average citizens who are unaware of the risks.

The above photo was posted by the OPP to remind motorists that they will be on the lookout for none-use of seat-belts over the Easter weekend. The campaign is commendable as seat-belt use is so critical in determining whether someone dies, is permanently injured, or comes home with minor injuries. Unfortunately the photo itself demonstrates the reality that many police are not trained to recognize the word “properly”. There are a number of issues shown in the above photo which should raise a concern about the officer’s safety should a significant collision occur. That being said, officers must carry a number of “accessories” on their body in case they have to response to an emergency where timing of response is critical. We need to review the basics of occupant safety before focusing on what problems are visible in the above photo.

Seat-belts are very effective when they are used properly. And even when they are used improperly they still provide some benefit. The whole idea behind seat-belt effectiveness lies in the timing of an occupant’s deceleration and how that will occur. Seat-belts need to be pressed close against an occupant’s body so that the beneficial “ride down” can occur as quickly as possible. Secondly, seat-belts need to be placed across proper portions of the occupant’s body so that the forces are applied to those areas that can withstand those forces.

Before the advent of pre-tensioners many collisions occurred when seat-belts contained a great deal of slack. For example my studies commencing almost 40 years ago showed that, in a serious collision, the loading of a seat-belt occurred at a delayed time similar to a seat being positioned in the “full forward” position. This needs a little explaining. When we get in our seat we adjust it to fit our comfort and often it is not in the full forward position unless we are extremely short in stature. Without going into detail, I was able to examine the “loading marks” on seat-belts to determine their precise length at the time of a collision. This research showed that many seat-belts were not effective because there was too much “slack”. Occupants were not loading their seat-belts until they were in a position equivalent to sitting with their seat full forward. For this reason occupants were not getting the benefit of being restrained by their the seat-belts. This observation was not unique to myself but many safety researchers recognized the problem. So in modern times “pre-tensioners” were installed that, upon sensing a collision, would explode and pull the webbing of a seat-belt, usually about 4 inches, against the occupant’s body. This nullified the problem of slack in most cases. But that is not the only concern.

Not only must seat-belts work as quickly as possible, they must also be applied to the strong portions of the body that can withstand those impact forces. When seat-belts were originally introduced it was understood that placing the lap belt below the illiac crests of the pelvis was desirable. These bones are located below the abdomen. But if the webbing is placed just above those illiac crests bad stuff happens. What the general public does not understand is that, above the illiac crests there is nothing but vulnerable soft tissue all the way back to the spine. Such soft issue cannot accept typical collision loads. So proper vertical placement of the lap belt becomes crucially important, even though pre-tensioners may exist. This is even more important for children approaching adult stature where such proper placement becomes more difficult. So seat-belt effectiveness depends on where the webbing is pressed onto the occupant’s body.

For torso (shoulder) belts similar concerns apply. The webbing must load the collar bone (clavicle) region. Placing the webbing in any other orientation can be dangerous if not deadly. So placing the webbing underneath an arm, for example, will cause the load to be applied below the arm pit and across the ribs. This application can cause rib fractures as well as injuries to the lungs, heart etc, which should be understood as very dangerous.

So, to summarize, seat-belt effectiveness is not dependent on whether you snap the belt on or not. This is the problem with current propaganda with seat-belt campaigns. Seat-belt effectiveness is dependent on early deceleration and proper positioning. Both of these require the occupant’s attention before starting any vehicle.

Now, returning to the photo posted by the OPP. There are an number of concerns about the placement of the lap shoulder (torso) webbings in this photo. Pretty well all of these concerns relate to the accessories worn by the officer, accessories that the average citizen should not have to deal with. To some degree the lap belt is positioned somewhat low below the pouches worn on the belt buckle. It could be worn in a worse position if the lap belt was above those accessories. But we have to think what would happen in a serious collision when the lap belt is pulled tight by a pre-tensioner and the lap webbing begins to apply a force on the officer’s body. While the belt may be relatively low it will be pressing on the accessories attached to the officer’s belt buckle. The load which would normally pass, unobstructed onto the illiac crests will now be passed through those accessories that are located at a higher position and onto the officer’s abdomen.

A similar concern is visible for the officer’s shoulder belt which is pressing against his radio. Again, the torso webbing must apply a load onto the collar bone area not to the centre of the chest. The narrowed dimensions of the radio will concentrate the force on that accessory and the force will be applied onto the chest behind that radio. This is not a helpful outcome.

So while police are busy telling regular citizens to wear their seat-belts they do not tell those citizens that wearing a seat-belt is insufficient for their safety. Citizens, like police, need to understand that the word “properly” is just as important as the word “wear”. Not only must you wear your seat-belt but you must ensure that it is in a proper position and orientation so that it protect you from harm.

Police Conclude Driver Mistook Brake For Accelerator Pedal in London Pedestrian Fatal Crash

This photo of the 2017 Honda CRV which was involved in a pedestrian fatal collision is the only one made publicly available, coming from court exhibits. Even one or two additional photos would help to confirm the basis of police conclusions about what caused the fatal collision. Tire marks located in the upper left corner of this photo show the path of the Honda as it exited Riverside Driver after the impacts.

Some useful details have been revealed in the trial of Metronella McNorgan whose high-speed vehicle killed an eight-year-old pedestrian on November 30, 2021 in London Ontario. News media have reported partial results from a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) report submitted by the crown alleging McNorgan unintentionally stepped on the accelerator pedal while mistaking it for the brake pedal. This caused her Honda CRV to reach a speed of 121 km/h along Riverside Drive in London.

This photo is another exhibit that was revealed by news media showing the area on the north roadside where the Honda travelled onto the north sidewalk after striking a lamp standard. The struck lamp standard is shown lying in the westbound curb lane of Riverside. While tire marks are visible in the snow-covered boulevard there do not appear to be any tire marks visible on the concrete sidewalk. A similar photo, taken in daylight on the morning of December 1, 2021 is shown below.
This photo was taken on December 1, 2021, at approximately 0930 hours and is similar to the court exhibit photo of the same area. Although tire marks can be seen in the snow-covered grass they are not visible on the concrete sidewalk. Further in the distance the marks from all four tires are visible and indicate that the vehicle is “yawing” or rotating counter clockwise.
This view shows an orange cone where the struck lamp standard stood. The tire marks from the Honda can be seen on the asphalt of the driveway leading up to the impact of the lamp standard. This is shown again in the photo below.
This is a view approaching the point where the Honda struck the lamp standard. Only two tire marks are visible indicating that the Honda is generally pointing in the direction it is travelling although the tire marks begin to diverge shortly afterward.
This view shows the tire marks as the Honda is returning to the road after the impacts. It eventually crossed the road and entered the south roadside. The tire marks here are visible from all four tires as the vehicle rotates counter clockwise. Looking from left to right the tire marks are from the left-front, left-rear, right-front and right-rear. Even the marks from the right-front and right-rear tires are visible on the concrete sidewalk. The front and rear tire marks are converging as they enter the road and his means that the vehicle is straightening out and beginning to point in the direction it is travelling.
Here the tire marks show how the Honda exited Riverside Drive and onto the south roadside. The presence of only two tire marks indicates that the Honda is now pointing in the direction it is travelling.

News media reported that Constable Bradly Yeo was the analyst who conducted the assessment of the data contained in the CDR report. He indicated that the accelerator pedal had been pushed 99 per cent of the way to the floor in the five seconds before the Honda Struck a lamp standard which triggered the recording.

Interestingly it was reported that stability control features in the vehicle activated two seconds before the vehicle struck the lamp standard and this slowed it to 103 km/h. If the Honda was only travelling 103 km/h when it struck the lamp standard then the reported 121 km/h speed must have occurred sometime before, and presumably before the so-called stability control features took effect. If there was only 5-seconds of pre-crash recording then the seconds 5 to 3 seconds before impact were the ones in which the Honda was travelling at 121 km/h, and then the speed was reduced to 103 km/h in the remaining 2 seconds, without the aid of any braking. But this speed reduction would have to occur when the accelerator pedal was pushed 99 per cent of the way to the floor. If braking was not applied then the only way that the Honda reduced its speed is by the stability control system taking over and over-riding the accelerator pedal application. When stability control is activated its purpose is to prevent a vehicle from rotating sideways and this is achieved by applying varying levels of braking to certain wheels so the vehicle points in the direction its travelling. That is an important observation.

During the 2 seconds leading up to the impact with the lamp standard the Honda’s speed was being reduced by about 10 km/h every second and this translates to a rate of deceleration of about .28g. As a comparison, drivers approaching a stop sign typically brake at a rate of .25g. And maximum braking can achieve a deceleration of .7g or higher.

So, to summarize, the police believe that, even though the accelerator pedal was pushed fully to the floor, the stability control system took control and, rather than allowing an acceleration, its caused the Honda to slow down from 121 to 103 km/h before the impact with the lamp standard. Unfortunately news media have not divulged the full contents of the CDR report so it is difficult to conclude whether the conclusions reported by the crown are correct.

It is expected that the defense will call their own expert witness and further conclusions may be made about the CDR data.

Milgaard’s Law Is A Small Step Forward Against Wrongful Convictions

Murder investigation creates high publicity and a strong need to find a culprit, sometimes missing the evidence that someone else committed the crime.

Almost everyone in the criminal justice system would wish that discussion of the Salem Witch Trials would go away because the result was so embarrassingly ugly. In the late 1600s officials in the area of Salem Massachusetts did not know how to deal with an outbreak of “craziness” engulfing the local townspeople. So they blamed it on witchcraft and assassinated a couple dozen female “witches”. The reasoning by local judges was extraordinary and criminal, but nothing could be done. Fast forward 350 years and many believe we have solved that problem. But that is not the case.

A number of high publicity murder cases have been re-opened by a few diligent angels resulting in the overturning of murder convictions here in Canada. Milgaard, Truscott, Marshall and Morin, to name a few. Below the tip of this pyramid lie a much larger number of less prominent convictions that have never seen the cover of any newspaper or presented in any TV documentary.

As much as we love to watch Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple, we fail to recognize the reality that, in far too many ugly instances, society does a very poor job at catching the correct criminal.

This is why new proposed Canadian legislation called “Milgaard’s Law” (Bill C-40) is so greatly needed. Lawyer James Lockyer was one of those who reportedly helped draft the bill and he was instrumental in the defenses of many of those prominent convictions that were overturned.

Having been involved as a expert witness in a number of less publicized, but ugly, cases, I strongly support the push towards enacting this important piece of legislation. It will not solve the problem that Salem lawyers and judges exist, but it will throw some cold water on this uncontrolled inferno.

Most Cyclist Injuries Not Related To Motor Vehicle Impacts : Research Finding

White memorials can only draw attention to what has previously happened. However data collection and its analysis can change what happens in the future.

We know very little about what is injuring cyclists. That appears to be the finding from recent research reported for the Toronto area between the years 2016 and 2021. The research authored by Dr. Alison Macpherson and Dr. Linda Rothman was reported recently in a webinar presented by the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals (CARSP). The webinar was entitled “Comparison of the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries captured in police data compared with health service utilisation data in Toronto, Canada 2016– 2021”.

While 2,362 cyclist incidents were reported in Toronto’s police data, there were 30,101 cyclist visits to hospital emergency departments and 2,299 resulted in hospitalizations. The research also noted that 26,083 of those cyclist incidents, or 87%, did not result from cyclist involvement with a motor vehicle.

The Key Findings from the study are the following:

If 87% of cyclist injuries did not come from motor vehicle collisions, where did they come from? That should be an obvious question because these 87% were serious enough that they involved a visit to a hospital emergency department. It can be imagined that many more incidents of cyclist injury do not result in visits to emergency departments. It is well-publicized by hospitals and health officials that emergency department treatment should be sought for immediate health threats and injuries not posing immediate health threats should be treated by visiting family doctors or drop in health clinics. So it is a reasonable expectation that many more cyclist injuries are occurring that are not captured in the emergency department data.

This is an example of a cyclist injury that did not result in a visit to a hospital emergency department. The rider’s bicycle tire became dislodged when the cyclist was crossing over an excessive vertical difference between a sidewalk and the grass boulevard beside it. So this incident did not involve a motor vehicle. While not life-threatening the result was also not pleasant.

Cyclist injuries are occurring from sources that are unknown. The problem is that none of this information is collected and available for proper education of the public who are the ones being injured and killed.

Disappointing Actions By All Involved In Addressing Cyclist Safety

Almost all entities involved in cycling safety appear to misunderstand the importance of relying on objective data to form the basis of their actions.

News media’s focus on comments by Toronto’s Mayor Olivia Chow exemplifies the discouraging lack of meaningful understanding of cyclist safety. CP24 News reported in an article dated March 1, 2024 that Mayor Chow talked about finding a middle ground between prioritizing cyclist safety and maintaining more space for drivers of motor vehicles. Mayor Chow was quoted saying “There must be a better way to protect cyclists, but also for the drivers to not be so traumatized. Because where the road is not designed well, cyclists and drivers intersect and accidents happen…”. At no point was it ever noted that cyclist collisions may not be happening just because roads are not designed well but that additional factors could be at play.

The CP14 News article also provided information from Toronto’s Deputy Mayor, Jennifer McKelvie, that the City of Toronto was investing $30 million dollars in the City’s cycling network. Again the focus was on building cycling infrastructure as if that was the only important matter in cyclist safety.

The CP24 News article also reported on incidents during a “cycling consultation” meeting organized by a cycling advocacy group entitled Cycle Toronto. It was reported that during the meeting angry, anti-cycling comments were made by some and the meeting broke into chaos. This demonstrates how motor vehicle drivers and cycling groups are failing to communicate with each other, as emotions become more important than facts.

Recent fatal cyclist collisions underscore the lack of useful information made public by investigating police. On February 26, 2024 a cyclist was killed when he was reportedly struck by two vehicles at the intersection of Birchmount Road and St. Clair Ave in Scarborough. Investigating police provided no useful information about what factors led to the fatality and how it might be prevented in the future.

Similarly, on March 3, 2024 a fatal collision was reported by Mississauga OPP on Highway 7 in Halton Region. The extent to which the OPP kept information about the collision secret is that in the Twitter (“X”) announcement they never revealed that a cyclist was involved. Even CP24 News journalist Joanna Lavoie reported that “Mississauga OPP would only tell CP24 that one vehicle was involved”. No other news agencies appeared to have any information about the collision except that, on March 4, 2024, CHCH-TV published an article on their website in which they indicated that: “According to the report released by police on Monday, the driver of the SUV was travelling eastbound – the same direction as the cyclist – when they entered the paved shoulder and struck the man on his bicycle”. The CHCH-TV article also appeared to emphasize that police described this as a “two-vehicle collision”, which would appear to be contradictory to the information given or reported by CP24 that only one vehicle was involved. This is the kind of confusion that develops when police refuse to release even basic information about a collision.

Tensions between police and cycling groups have also risen in the Toronto area in recent years. Ticketing of cyclists travelling too quickly through High Park has led to opinions by many cyclists that they are being targeted when police should be going after dangerous motor vehicle drivers. Yet cyclist high speed could be a problem both for cyclists and motor vehicle drivers. We simply don’t know the details without knowing how many collisions occur and under what circumstances.

A general militancy has developed amongst some cycling individuals as blame is put on motorists who are described as careless and disregarding of cyclist safety. There may be some truth to this blame. Yet these persons do not explain the basis for their conclusions. There is no indication whether these persons have any specific, detailed knowledge about how cyclist collisions have occurred. And given the secretive behaviour of investigating police it is very likely that these activists have very little information about what factors were at play. In the recent escalation of Trumpism (biased lies spread by isolated internet groups) on the internet it becomes difficult to discuss cyclist safety problems in an objective and unbiased way because so many have an emotional attachment to the opinions they hold.

In totality, whether it be politicians, police, news media, cyclists or motor vehicle drivers, no one has raised the important issue that detailed objective data needs to be made public about the factors that are related to cycling collisions. You need to have a clear understanding of the problem before you can apply a proper solution.

My 44 years of conducting detailed analysis of all kinds of transportation collisions has been combined with previous university training in psychology. Psychology focuses a scientific lens on human behavior. From this basis I have come to appreciate why researchers define transportation safety issues in terms of three general factors: The Human, the Vehicle and the Environment, or HVE for short. While the vehicle and road are important, the most difficult to address is the Human. How we behave and what influences our behavior is very complex, in all aspects of our lives. My psychological studies came from a Behavourist psychology department, but earlier I focused on Psychoanalysis and the research of Sigmund Freud. It was Psychoanalysis that gave me an appreciation of the mechanisms, many unconscious, that make use tick. While Psychoanalysis is now considered passé, it provided me with a scientific method for the critical evaluation of human behaviour that continues to this day. It is because of this training and experience that I recognize the many mental games being played with cycling safety.

As an example, the photos below show a night-time scenario where a cyclist is riding along an urban street. The cyclist is not wearing any clothing that would distinguish him from the dark surroundings. And the bike and its trailer are not equipped with any artificial illumination. The only indication of his presence is that the background is illuminated and therefore some contrast is created between his dark figure and the lighter background. The periphery of a motor vehicle driver’s eyes contain the receptors that are more capable of detecting motion than central vision. But the motor vehicle moving behind and beside the cyclist may be interpreted by the driver as being one and the same as the cyclist. So in situations like this a cyclist may not be detected for many reasons.

Somewhere in this view there is a cyclist pulling a loaded mini-trailer. Can he been seen by a typical motorist? Why is this not recognized by many as a safety problem?

Once the cyclist enters into the zone of illumination in front of a motor vehicle’s headlights he becomes more likely to be detected and identified, as shown in the photo below. But this illumination is within a narrow time and width of distance. Reaction by application of a brake pedal does not result in a successful collision avoidance if detection and identification are too late. And motor vehicle speed is another factor that determines the scenario outcome.

Under headlight illumination this cyclist can be seen. But when crossing the path of a vehicle the cyclist is only illuminated for a very short time. At 20 km/h a cyclist travels about 5.6 metres every second. Headlight illumination is not much use when, in an unexpected scenario where identification is difficult, it may take a driver of a motor vehicle 2.5 seconds to react.

A number of cyclists are advising each other that the type of clothing worn, and whether a cycle is equipped with artificial illumination does not matter. They tell each other that victim blaming is at play when they are criticized for not being attentive to their own safety. This is reckless advice. It is these kinds of mental games being played with cyclist safety that cause persons to become confused about what dangers exist. Opinions like these are difficult to eradicate when there are no real-life examples that can be used to educate those who might be questioning what they should believe.

The actions of all involved gives the impression that no one understands the importance of gathering, good-quality, objective data and making this data publicly available for everyone to see.

School Bus Rollover In Oxford County A Lucky Result?

Impressions in the ditch are the only signs remaining where a school bus rolled over south of Sweaburg in Oxford on Tuesday morning, March 5, 2024. Yet there was also a long length of tire marks preceding the rollover and these provided some clues as to the actions of the school bus driver before the rollover.

A full-size International school bus rolled over into a ditch of Dodge Line just south of its intersection with Cuthbert Road in Oxford County Ontario on the morning of Tuesday, March 5, 2024. The usual tight-lipped approach was applied by investigating police but eventually some seeming contradictions spilled out. Initial reports came out that a child became trapped underneath the school bus and that the child was air-lifted to hospital. One of the news agencies reported that Orgne Air initially reported that the child had critical injuries. These facts would normally indicate a dire outcome. However police then confirmed that “all the students were OK”. Even the child that was airlifted was done so as a precaution because of a concern of possible internal injuries. But questions remain.

If the child was trapped under the bus then the child must have been ejected from the interior of the bus. But that was never clarified. Modern school buses have been designed with “compartmentalization” that is supposed to replace the need for seat-belts. This long word “compartmentalization” could only have been coined by someone who did not care if the average person could pronounce it, let alone understand what it meant. But simply, the word means that an attempt is made to keep children in individual compartments, like eggs in an egg carton. Rather than being thrown around the interior of the bus higher seats are designed to keep children within the area in which they are seated. Protective padding is also within the seats to minimize the forces (“loads”) exerted on the children’s bodies. Windows are also designed to minimize the chance of ejection. Opinions have been raised that compartmentalization does not work, or works poorly, and that seat-belts should be installed and used. This discussion has been around for many years now.

A new call for seat-belts has been ignited over the result from this present school bus rollover, even though there is little information about what happened to the child that was trapped under the bus. Police were the only ones with access to both the school bus and the collision site when the evidence was fresh yet they have said nothing that would help to understand what happened.

The next group of persons with some information are the news reporters who attended the site. Although they take various photos and videos they often do not understand the meaning of the evidence they document and so important evidence is often not illuminated or is left sitting in some reporter’s digital storage.

Yet a single photo of the right side of the bus was taken and shown in an article by reporter Jacquelyn LeBel, of Global News, which caught our attention. Unfortunately we cannot show this photo because it is copyright and the reporter herself did, or could not, reveal the important evidence that the photo showed. The photo was taken of the school bus after it had been righted and was on the hook of a tow truck. There was earth and debris still clinging along the side of the bus. The photo showed that four rectangular windows had been broken out. And then, importantly, a fifth window was not only broken but the actual frame of the window was pulled out and upward. This fifth window was the front emergency exit window. There are two emergency exit windows on the right side of such buses and the rear one was intact. The important question is: why was this emergency window pulled out in the manner that it was? Yes, it is possible that it became that way during the towing procedures while lifting the bus from its side. But why was this single window pulled out and not any other? Coincidence? Well, possibly. But it could also explain how a child might have exited the bus and become trapped underneath it. Although a small child’s body might still exit through any of the other four broken windows the probability is less because there is a metal frame running forward-back across the windows which makes the possibility of ejection less likely. Many years ago agencies such as Transport Canada were aware of the possibility of ejection through side windows and so designs were changed so ejection was less likely. So, although ejection through these windows cannot be totally ruled out, in my view, it is not likely.

Upon seeing the concerning evidence of the deformed and protruding emergency window I decided to attend the collision site to gather further information. This site examination was begun at my arrival at approximately 1445 hours, or some seven hours after the time of the collision. Police had already left the site and the bus had already been towed away. What was remaining were a couple of SUVs from CTV News and an unmarked SUV belonging to an unknown reporter. Since I parked by vehicle near the CTV News vehicles I happened to engage in a conversation with one reporter while I was still several hundred metres from the collision evidence. I mentioned the issue of the damaged emergency window and lamented that I could not examine the bus to explore the issue further. The reporter said he had taken some close-up video of the window and he showed that to me. In the video I could see an important point: The damaged emergency window contained a release latch at the bottom of the window frame. This was an important clue to what might have happened. I explained that older International school buses were equipped with release latches at the bottom of the emergency windows. Newer buses had latches that were on the side of the frame roughly up the middle of the window. An example of the older style release latch is shown in the photo below.

And the newer style of release latch is shown in the photo below.

To understand the important of this point, one needs to consider how the older style latch could become opened during or prior to a collision.

First point to be made is that, if a release latch is even slightly ajar an alarm will sound like a high-pitched squeal. It is very distinctive and a bus driver would immediately recognize that one of the emergency exits, including the rear door, was not closed properly. So it is unlikely that the older style latch was ajar prior to the collision events. But how could it become released during the collision events? One needs to look at the collision site to obtain some clues.

The photo shown below was taken by Gorski Consulting during our site examination. It is a view looking north from approximately 150 metres south of where the bus came to rest. A 50-metre, metal measurement tape was placed along the roadside commencing at the point of the first visible collision evidence. This first evidence was in the form a tire mark from the right side tires of the bus as it exited from the pavement and onto the very narrow shoulder.

Unfortunately, someone’s vehicle had already ridden over top of the beginning of the tire mark and so we can only estimate that the original commencement of the tire mark was likely an additional 5 or so metres behind the camera.

The next view, below, is showing the site in the opposite (southward) view. The right side tire marks from the bus should be clearly visible here as the bus came to the edge of a steep drop-off of the shoulder then it veered back onto the pavement. The point where it crossed back onto the pavement was about 85 metres north of where the bus initially exited the pavement.

Turning around again to face north the three photos below show the tire marks of the school bus as it returns onto the pavement, crosses over the roadway centre-line, and then arcs back around to the right ditch where it rolls over.

As a point of clarification, there was another set of curving tire marks that were visible just behind the reporter’s white SUV as shown in the northward view below. In my opinion these marks were likely not collision related. Certainly they were not caused by the bus. As they terminated at the edge of the shoulder it is my speculation that they could have been caused by the dual wheels of an ambulance or perhaps a tow truck. But further information could clarify their origin.

To complete this process the photo below shows a general view of the markings at the final rest position of the bus.

So, to summarize, we have the bus initially travelling onto the right shoulder and it almost fell over its the steep edge. But it returned onto the opposite site of the road and then returned to rollover in the right ditch. This occurred over a distance of about 150 metres. While 150 metres is not a short distance it is also not excessive. Several sites that I have examined, particularly on high-speed expressways have shown loss-of-control tire marks over distances of as much as 400 metres.

But let us put some broad numbers together to estimate speed. The “fish-tailing” tiremarks that persons are used to describing are technically called “yaw” marks. Yaw is the motion whereby a vehicle rotates about its vertical centre-of-gravity. In almost all instances of vehicle rollover there are indications of yaw preceding the rollover. The deceleration during yawing can be various depending on the extent of rotation and whether any braking was actually involved. Since this is not a matter being presented at a trial we can simply use an overall deceleration value of 0.3g over that 150 metre distance. This would result in a speed of about 107 km/h for the bus at the beginning of the visible tire-marks. One should not read more into this than is reasonable. This speed estimate is based on a very broad and general deceleration. The actual speed could be considerably less depending on what further details are uncovered. It has been presented to suggest that there is no basis, given the present facts, to conclude that the bus was travelling at an excessively high speed.

Given that the bus was likely travelling at a typical, highway speed we can also examine the severity of the rollover. It can be noted that the bus remained on its wheels up to the time that it reached the steep drop-off at the right edge of the shoulder. From that point the bus came to rest a short distance on its right side. This suggests that the rollover occurred when the bus was travelling at relatively slow speed, possibly in the range of 10 to 20 km/h. This suggestion is supported by what was visible at the point where the bus came to a stop.

When glass shatters when a vehicle is travelling relatively quickly the individual shards of glass can be strewn for a long distance. At low speed such glass can be deposited in a way that one can recognize the contours of the glass frame from which the shards came from. The latter is what was visible at the bus rest position.

For example the photo below shows a concentration of broken glass where the contours of the window from which it came are clearly defined. It is clear that this glass came from one of the four rectangular windows that were fractured.

And this finding is repeated in another area of fractured glass shown below. The rectangular contours of the window from which the glass originated are clearly defined.

So the window fractures occurred when the bus was travelling very slowly and they did not occur until the bus fell onto its right side essentially when the bus was stopped.

There was an area of glass which was less defined which we suspect came from the front emergency exit window. This area of glass is shown below. The fact that the contours of the glass are not as defined indicates that the emergency window had come to be open when the bus fell onto its right side.

So, to summarize, it is believed that the bus was travelling at a typical, highway speed when the first tire marks became visible. We also conclude that the bus was travelling very slowly when it eventually rolled over. But how could a child become ejected in this scenario? This becomes difficult to explain given that we have not had a chance to examine the bus and so many other sources of evidence are not available to us. So the following comments have to be treated with caution.

For the present time we assume that the reports that the child became ejected are correct. The reports that the child became trapped under the bus are of concern as to their reliability since, being ejected and trapped under a full-size bus should not result in minor injuries.

One has to examine what might happen to children who are unrestrained while the bus is going through its pre-rollover motions. Firstly the bus travels onto the right shoulder to the point that it almost rolls over because it is at the extreme edge of the drop-off. Being at this edge would cause the bus to tilt to its right side while it is being steered back onto the pavement. In this scenario the children seated at the right side seats of the bus would be expected to be pushed toward the right interior wall of the bus. A child seated at the front emergency window would also be expected to be pushed against the bottom latch. And since the bus would be at a substantial angle, with its right side down, it could be easily understood how a child’s body might move upward while pressed against the latch, thus rotating the latch to an open position. But that is not the only time when which situation could occur. The situation could also occur at the point when the bus is rolling over the steep drop-off near its final rest position. In fact, near the final rest position the bus would be at a very steep angle with its right side very low and the child’s body could be moving upwards in relation to the latch. So the opening of the emergency window could also have occurred very close to when the bus was rolling over. These comments are very broad and a proper reconstruction would need access to the bus which is not available.

The concern that children could be ejected from a full-size bus on regular basis is somewhat unfounded. Newer buses no longer have the latch at the bottom of the emergency exit window. In a brief survey of school buses in the London area we could not locate another, old style, International bus with such bottom latches. So this scenario is rare and likely to be rarer as older buses are replaced with new ones.

The history of my opinions of seat-belts on school buses remains that I have warned against such installations. Primarily because I know of the dangers that exist when children do not wear seat-belts properly. And unless supervised on a constant basis children, invariably, will not wear seat-belts properly. What most persons do not understand is that the lap portion of a seat-belt is difficult to keep below the iliac crests of the pelvis. In other words the lap belt will sit to high across the child’s abdomen and this is very dangerous. I have said many times that, in a major collision, with a relatively high change-in-velocity, a child will sustain major abdominal injuries and will require immediate delivery to a hospital operating room. If several children sustain such injuries and if the collision is in a rural area the changes of survival would be dim.

However, while I do not recommend seat-belts, I do recommend restraints. In other words some form of restraints are needed that are similar to child seats and or booster cushions for older children. This is not an easy process because of the varying sizes of children and getting them into the proper type of restraint. And the costs become prohibitive.

But I also do not believe that compartmentalization is a satisfactory solution. Due to the large mass of a school bus the argument is correct that most impacts will not result in a large change-in-velocity of the bus. But in rural settings at highway speed loss-of-directional-control of a school bus is not a rarity. As shown in the present collision it is common. In such instances lateral forces are generated and children become thrown against the sides or roof of the bus. In a majority of instances injuries caused during these motions are not life-threatening. But incapacitating injuries, including spinal cord injuries are not as rare. An unrestrained child striking its head against a hard surface can cause the dislocation of the head that could produce cervical spine injury. Not something to be taken lightly. So, as difficult as it may be, transportation safety agencies must come to develop a proper restraining system for children on school buses. But not your typical seat-belts.

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