Thursday 23 March 2017

Gardai issue warning that 'serious' tailbacks on busy roads are caused by motorists who film the aftermath of road accidents

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Alan O'Keeffe

Twelve ‘rubberneck’ motorists who filmed the aftermath on a fatal traffic crash were prosecuted for their 'unsafe' behaviour, according to gardai.

Fines imposed on the drivers who used mobile phones to film the crash scene in Dublin should serve as a general warning to all motorists about proper behaviour following road accidents, said garda chiefs.

Gardai, fire chiefs, Dublin City Council, the HSE ambulance service, and the Transport Institute of Ireland took part yesterday in a special appeal to Irish motorists to exercise common sense and safe behaviour following crashes on busy roads.

Major traffic arteries like the M50 are very vulnerable to traffic jams and long delays if there are serious collisions and all road users should do their part to lessen traffic hold-ups, gardai said.

Garda Superintendents Tom Murphy and John Ferris spoke of serious tailbacks on busy roads caused by motorists who want to slow down to watch or film the aftermath of road accidents.

Following a serious accident on the M50 last year, traffic flows in the opposite direction should not have been affected but several motorists driving past decided to slow down to film the scene.

“Twelve motorists used their mobile phones to film the scene as they drove past and all of them were prosecuted later,” said Supt Ferris.

The motorists were found to be holding their mobile phones out the windows of their cars which was deemed to be unsafe behaviour, he said.

Fines of €80 and two penalty points can be imposed for such behaviour.

This behaviour even has its own term - digital rubbernecking.

Emergency services want all motorists to exercise responsibility during long traffic delays caused by collisions. Drivers must keep clear of all hard shoulders to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

And loose loads on lorries should be reported.

In very heavy volumes of traffic on busy routes, a driver averting attention even for a split second can cause a collision with a vehicle in front that suddenly slows down.

Forensic Collision Investigator Garda Edward Davin demonstrated a new scene-of-accident scanner being used by gardai which can dramatically cut down the time that a road must remain closed after an accident. While traditional crash scene investigation measures can take hours, a new three dimensional scanner can map the scene in a fraction of the time.

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