Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Missing Factor


From the St. Louis, Missouri Post-Dispatch:

For the 14th time this year, an Illinois trooper is struck by passing motorist


Authorities say the factors for other crashes involving parked police cars can include people driving too fast, being distracted or not being aware of the law that requires them to move over.

Here's another factor that nobody seems to mention:

Even a few years ago, when a cop pulled a motorist over, the cop then pulled in behind the motorist on the shoulder of the road.

These days, every time I see a cop-stop, the police vehicle is parked catawampus across the right traffic lane of the road, just waiting to be t-boned by someone who didn't notice the flashing lights. At which point physics gets to work and suddenly you have two large pieces of metal flying uncontrolled around the roadway where either or both are likely to hit the cop who's outside writing a ticket, or the parked car on the shoulder, or oncoming traffic, or some combination of those things.

Which seems to be what happened here -- the "passing motorist" also hit the trooper's car, and at the moment they don't know (or aren't admitting they know) whether it was the trooper or his car that got hit first.

I understand the theory -- the cop standing next to the pulled-over car is vulnerable, and if he parks his car catawampus across the road maybe it gives him some protection from that inattentive motorist. On the other hand, there's still some risk to the cop, and there's dramatically increased risk to everyone else on the damn road.

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