Police urge drivers to keep eyes on road, not accidents
Police in western Newfoundland are warning motorists to not let curiosity get the better of them when they drive past an accident scene, for their own safety.
Const. Adam Gardner of the RCMP's Traffic Services West division said he worries that so-called "rubbernecking" at the scene of an accident might end up causing another one.
"They are not paying attention. They are coming through as we are trying to direct traffic, and they are more concerned about seeing what's going on on the highway, as well as even taking pictures and other things like that, which takes their attention away from what's in front of them," Gardner said.
"We've had a couple of instances where we have had close calls, where our officers have been close to being hit."
Gardner recalled one incident that he said was a little too close for comfort.
"A motorist was coming by, trying to take a picture of what was going on at the crash scene, and ended up running over a pylon that was right next to one of our officers, and actually dragged the pylon for a couple of hundred metres before it dropped out in front of the car," he said.
"I don't even think the motorist realized they hit the pylon. It could have been the officer that was hit, and fortunately that time it wasn't."
Gardner said it's important to pay close attention to the road and the officers at accident scenes.
"What you should be focusing on when you come to a crash scene, is look at the officers, see where they are directing you where to go, and follow their direction," he said.
"If you get outside of that, then you could potentially hit someone or something, and cause another crash, and that's what we're trying to avoid."
Gardner said they're also concerned that when they're responding to calls, some drivers aren't slowing down or pulling over.
An amendment to the Highway Traffic Act which addresses that problem is expected to become law during the current session of the House of Assembly.
The "move over" law will require drivers to slow down and move to the side of the road at accident scenes or in construction zones.
With files from Jeremy Eaton