Faster accident probes can’t come too soon
The police department is hoping to shorten road closings after traffic accidents.
OAHU motorists who have found themselves stuck in traffic because of an accident will appreciate the Honolulu Police Department's new effort
to cut the time it takes for investigators to do their work and clear the roads.
Police officials say they have been studying how they can conduct necessary surveys at accident scenes without unduly interrupting traffic flow.
For years, drivers have complained that anything from a multivehicle pile-up to a fender-bender prompts a road closure that can snarl traffic for hours. Police do need time to sort out evidence and inspect accident scenes, especially when people are injured or killed, but even small mishaps seem to result in extended closures.
The problem is that Oahu has few bypass roads through which cars can be detoured, and even then, the island's constant heavy traffic makes movement difficult.
An immediate step police investigators have taken is eliminating mapping lanes and recording other evidence when an accident involves just one car and driver. Another is to provide a police escort to accident scenes for medical examiners, a practice that surprisingly hasn't been adopted before.
Police have been monitoring response times and videotaping investigations to see how procedures can be speeded. The department also will consult with traffic experts from other states and cities.
However, one cause of traffic slowdowns will depend on motorists themselves and that's rubbernecking, which endangers other drivers as well as police officers.
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