by Cedric Hughes, Barrister & Solicitor with weekly contributions from Leslie McGuffin, LL.B.

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Archived Posts

Killed by an Unsecured Laptop Computer

According to Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion—often called the law of inertia—objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless an unbalanced force acts them upon. This not just an esoteric topic taught in advanced physics classes. Every time we fasten our seat belts we are attempting to minimize the risks it creates to health and safety if our vehicle comes to a violent stop and we become an object in motion.

The Dangers of Debris on the Highway

Recently, the Vancouver Sun Newspaper dedicated a feature page to roadside debris: the causes and extent of the problem, the hazards, the clean-up response, preventative measures and how well they are working. This recent newsworthiness seems linked to a recommendation currently being debated by Metro Vancouver’s waste management committee to turn away from disposal facilities loads not, “tied, tarped, covered or otherwise contained in a vehicle.”

Reinventing the Highway

Roadway/transportation infrastructure upgrading has been a major component of the preparations for the 2010 Olympic games and many who are not ‘Games supporters’ at least may endorse these efforts as a long-term benefit.

Even apart from the Olympic preparations, upgrading roadway infrastructure has been a priority for the Provincial government and the steps it has taken and the plans it still intends to carry out have been the subject of much debate. It may be fair to say therefore, that the importance of roadway infrastructure to the quality of modern life in the Lower Mainland is recognized, even if not at the highest end of any measuring scale.

Mother And Son Killed By Driver Disobeying Stop Sign

Shortly before noon on Tuesday February 17th, 2009, a mother in Surrey drove to bring her 16-year-old son home for lunch. After picking up her son, she stopped her car, a sedan, at the southbound stop sign on 132nd Street in Surrey and then started to turn left to go east on 60th Avenue. Reports indicate that a SUV blew through the northbound stop sign on 132nd and crashed into the side of the car.

The force of the impact reportedly propelled both vehicles on to a grassy area in front of a nearby church. The teenage passenger in the car died at the scene and the mother died on the way to the hospital. A teenage boy who was injured, but not seriously, drove the SUV. The front of the SUV was crumpled but the vehicle was more or less intact, while the Pontiac almost completely disintegrated.

Fatal Crashes and the Search For A Black Swan

Neil Seeman, a senior resident in health system innovation at Massey College, University of Toronto and an adjunct professor of health services management at Ryerson University, is looking for a “Black Swan.” He defines a “Black Swan” as a “rare, extreme idea, or an extreme event …that is prospectively unpredictable but carries with it enormous positive, or negative, consequences.” In short, it’s a solution. His search caught the attention of Road Rules because the problem he wants to resolve is how to reduce motor vehicle deaths in Canada to near zero in five years.

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