RCMP steps up ef­forts to make high­ways safer

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DENISE PIKE

RCMP Sergeant Randy Pack re­ally loves his job, but hopes he’ll never have to use any of his skills. Pack, a Traf­fic Ser­vices Re­con­struc­tion Pro­gram Man­ager, an­a­lyzes in­for­ma­tion gath­ered at col­li­sion scenes. To help the of­ficier with his du­ties, last Wed­nes­day (Oct, 14) the pro­vin­cial RCMP Traf­fic Ser­vices and the Whit­bourne RCMP de­tach­ment of­fi­cially opened a Traf­fic Ser­vices Re­con­struc­tion Pro­gram Man­ager’s of­fice at the Trin­ity - Pla­cen­tia RCMP head­quar­ters in Whit­bourne. How­ever Pack has been at the de­tach­ment in his new role since last spring.

“It’s all about im­prov­ing the safety con­di­tions of our high­ways and keep­ing peo­ple alive and well,” he says.

The well known safety-ori­ented RCMP of­fi­cer, shows up at col­li­sion scenes to de­ter­mine the cause of the crash.

His du­ties as a lead col­li­sion an­a­lyst also in­cludes as­sist­ing and guid­ing other an­a­lysts with on­go­ing an­a­lyst in­ves­ti­ga­tions, re­view­ing their re­ports and co­or­di­nat­ing the nec­es­sary train­ing to en­sure on­go­ing (col­li­sion an­a­lyst) de­vel­op­ment and a prop­erly equipped/train­ing pro­gram.

“There are eight RCMP col­li­sion an­a­lysts and re­con­struc­tion­ists posted in ar­eas such as Clarenville, Stephenville, Grand Falls, Holy­rood, Deer Lake and Whit­bourne,” says Pack. “Col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion is an in­te­gral part of what we do. Not only do we at­tempt to pro­vide an­swers as to what hap­pened in spe­cific col­li­sions, we also look for pat­terns and trends that, if ad­dressed, can make our high­ways safer.”

Along with sort­ing through the de­tails of a col­li­sion scene, RCMP an­a­lysts and re­con­struc­tion­ists are also trained in scene mea­sure­ment.

“This pro­vides us with a lot of in­for­ma­tion such as how fast a ve­hi­cle was trav­el­ling which as­sists us in de­cid­ing whether or not any vi­o­la­tion was com­mit­ted and if charges should be laid,” ex­plains Pack. “We also check the con­di­tions of the road for any sig­nage de­fects, carry out data analy­ses and com­pile a tech­ni­cal re­port on what we found.”

Col­li­sion an­a­lysts and re­con­struc­tion­ists also know how to in­ter­pret in­for­ma­tion found in elec­tronic de­vices con­tained in the airbags of some ve­hi­cles. Th­ese elec­tronic de­vices, also known to in­ves­ti­ga­tors as crash data re­trieval sys­tems or sens­ing di­ag­nos­tic mod­ules, record pre and post crash elec­tronic data much the same as an air­plane’s black box. In­ves­ti­ga­tors use spe­cial­ized soft­ware to re­trieve data from the de­vice.

“This data can tell us the ve­hi­cle speed, en­gine RPM (rev­o­lu­tions per minute), seat­belt us­age and much more,” says Pack. “It could also help us fig­ure out whether or not there was a prob­lem with the ve­hi­cle such as a de­fect in the man­u­fac­tur­ing.”

So far this year there have been 21 fatal­i­ties caused by car col­li­sions across the prov­ince.

Pack also uses his ex­per­tise as a Traf­fic Ser­vices Re­con­struc­tion Pro­gram Man­ager, to de­ter­mine if a per­son has been driv­ing reck­lessly or while drunk.

Op­er­a­tion Im­pact

Mean­while over the Thanks­giv­ing week­end RCMP con­ducted Op­er­a­tion Im­pact — an ini­tia­tive to in­crease pub­lic com­pli­ance with safe driv­ing mea­sures.

While there were no fa­tal col­li­sions the RCMP had to deal with a lot of ag­gres­sive driv­ers. Be­tween Fri­day Oct. 9 and Mon­day Oct. 12 they handed out 747 tick­ets for in­frac­tions such as speed­ing and lane vi­o­la­tions, ar­rested seven im­paired driv­ers and is­sued eight 24-hour road­side sus­pen­sions. An­other 176 high­way traf­fic tick­ets were handed out for vi­o­la­tions, which in­cluded driv­ing an un­reg­is­tered or un­safe ve­hi­cle.

High­way pa­trol of­fi­cers wrote up nearly 1,100 tick­ets dur­ing the four-day pe­riod.

RCMP say they’ve been mak­ing an ef­fort to in­crease pa­trols in ru­ral ar­eas like they did over the Thanks­giv­ing week­end be­cause statis­tics show there’s an av­er­age of 32 deaths and 99 se­ri­ous in­juries a year from col­li­sions on ru­ral roads in New­found­land and Labrador.

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