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back to article Cops get 3D laser scanners for motorway crash sites

The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded 27 police forces across England £2.7m worth of funding for the implementation of 3D laser scanning technology. The government hopes that the technology will shorten motorway closures after crashes as the scanners will save time by quickly making a 3D image of the whole crash site, …

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How about doing what they do in other countries?

An errect a bloody great screen for 1/4 mile either side so idiot, rubber necking morons don't slow down on the opposite carriageway and cause even bigger delays and accidents.

Either that or make it a bannable driving offence.

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I've been saying for years that the best way to improve traffic flow around the M25 would be to erect a 6-foot tall wall all along the central reservation.

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@M25 would be to erect a 6-foot tall wall all along the central reservation.

They have been doing this in the US , but not on all Highways. They make it just high enough so you can't see over it . It was fought because EMS said it hampers rescue efforts as they would park on the other side and hop the barrier. This was done because the traffic in the opposite lane is not blocked .

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Ru

It isn't just about the rubberneckers

As the article said, the wreckage needs to be surveyed before it can be cleaned up. In the event of a crash (especially a multi-vehicle one at speed) that spreads debris across all the lanes of carriageway, that whole carriage way will be stopped until surveying is sufficiently advanced or complete.

Gawper screens might help keep traffic moving in the other carriageway, but they're not going to improve matters for drivers in the one stuck behind the crash site.

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Anonymous Coward

Lost all faith

We always hear complaints about "rubberneckers" slowing down at the scene of a crash.

What would you prefer I do when I see blue lights, fire and mangled wreckage ahead as I approach at 70? Speed up until I can see if there is anything on my side of the road to avoid?

People die in accidents and I prefer to slow down until I can see whether it is safe to speed up again.

Or are you suggesting we abandon the principle that the driver is responsible for his actions and just display a mandatory minimum speed limit at crash sites and prosecute people who don't keep up? It might be inconvenient, but it is not as inconvenient as being dead, or having another smash on the opposite carriageway (which frequently happens) as some pillock tries to motor through at 90 while looking at the wreckage in abstract "ooh, it is like that video on youtube" way, and failing to see the real cars in front that have seen something to slow down for until it is too late.

Stupid argument.

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Missed the point

The complaints about rubberneckers are aimed at the drivers on the other (unblocked) carriageway who cause a traffic jam just by slowing down to look at the scene on the blocked carriageway. The traffic jams around accidents are about the same size on the unblocked carriageway as the blocked one.

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ah yes.. this is another thing I invented whilst stuck in jam (like I mention below).

... this one I actually scribbled down!

http://up2.it/katym609/inventions/08-01-2008+22/comments

...although you can't read it well, if at all!

The idea is it's a roll-up screen that has a wheel on the bottom that drives itself along the groove in the armco to put itself up and is stored in the bumper or rear pillar of a traffic police car.

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@kain preacher RE: EMT's

I'm sure we could put doors or something in the wall every so often, we have the technology!

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Bronze badge

Rubberneckers...

The talk about "rubberneckers" on the other carriageway completely fails to understand what amounts to the fluid dynamics involved in a busy motorway. When such a road is running close to capacity it's very susceptible to even the most minor perturbations in flow. Everybody will have come across situations on busy motorways when traffic flows freely for a while interspersed with queues of stationary traffic only to be followed by another repeat of the same. That's simply caused by a minor disturbance (or even random fluctuations in flow) leading to turbulent flow. Simply as traffic behind starts to close up on a slowing vehicle eventually, as gaps close down, eventually somebody has to brake and this gets worse until, eventually, somebody has to stop. Then you are into stop-start territory. In the case of an accident on the other carriageway, with blue flashing lights and the like, it's only natural (and safe) to ease off the throttle a little and this minor effect is enough, on a busy motorway, to trigger turbulent flow.

Of course the article has nothing whatsoever to do with "rubberneckers" - it's about the length of time that the police take when closing down motorways for investigations.

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Sound walls

They put doors in the sound walls just for that very reason. The doors are usually placed in front of fire plugs on the surface streets.

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FAIL

Re: Lost all faith

Rubbernecking takes place on both sides of the road; it's the rubber neckers on the non affected side who are causing most risk and slowing down the traffic for no reason at all, other than nosiness that causes them to pay very little attention to their carriageway.

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Megaphone

Rubberneckers

There's nothing wrong with slowing to a respectable speed when there's someone on the hard shoulder. But there are drivers who slow to a crawl to try to see who's getting a speeding ticket.

Apart from that, I'm surprised this will only save an average of 39 minutes per incident. What's the standard deviation like?

And the other thing that might save even more time and money is not tailgating.

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Anonymous Coward

How long until....

...these get abused at a Plod's xmas party?

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How long until....

anything between 1 and 365 days!

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Now if I could persuade the Irish plod to do the same thing I'd be a happy camper (I sell 3d scanners)

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Anonymous Coward

How long until ...

About 11 months and 20 days?

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Anonymous Coward

How long until....

...we start seeing laser porn

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I think people should be forced to slow down and see the results of accidents.

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Amen to that.

Having had the wonderful fun of getting smashed into twice on the motorway, I do think people need to realise what happens when they take their eyes off the road while moving 80mph. Of course, having them rubber neck at a previous accident doesn't quite seem the right solution.

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maybe

but probably better to tell them exactly how the incident happened. Tailgating? mobile phone? mechanical problem? Not looking in mirrors? drink/drug/sleep driving?

It's one thing to get people to see the outcomes of pile-ups, it's better to tell them this could happen to you if you don't wise up.

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yay!

It's about time ... I'm sure we've all invented this when we've been stuck in a jam.

Mix it with high-res photography and then play it back in virtual reality then not only does it save time on the motorway but the investigators get a view from a lot closer to the time it happened and not hours later when it might be raining.

My other idea would be to get a lane-wide bit of sticky-tape and then use it to pick up all the small bits of debris for later inspection which can be placed back in the right place when unrolled but then I guess if the laser is good enough this isn't needed.

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They should use more powerful lasers

and vapourise all the debris.

Problem solved.

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Anonymous Coward

No need for one long wall.

Just break it up, angle it so when you're driving in one direction it is a complete screen, but if the EMS need to "hop" the barrier they can do it.

aka (ascii art)

--->

/ / / /

<----

Slowing down because of hazards on your carriageway might seem to be the sensible thing to do; but I'm sure if there are some the emergency services would shut the affected lanes and clear the road. Rubber necking / filming on their phone (it happens now all the time) should be punishable offences. Those who do it, rarely slow to a sensible speed they generally crawling past to view the carnage.

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Sections of the M1 in the midlands had this years ago, but it all seems to have gradually disappeared.

It does need to be installed the right way around (that is, as you've "drawn" it) or the effect doesn't work.

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"Rubber necking / filming on their phone (it happens now all the time) should be punishable offences."

Not least because if you are driving and looking at a road accident, regardless of what speed you are doing, you are not taking notice of what your car is doing.

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Black Helicopters

Send in the Drones....

Have Qinetiq et al not got a drone that can be flown to the scene of an accident quickly and take both photos and 3D laser scanned pictures of the scene? That way the surveys can commence whilst the police are other emergency services are dealing with scooping up brains and guts, all whilst providing situational awareness of whats going on both in relation to the the accident and its effect on the area? If the drone could do the heavy lifting then the on-scene plod would then only need to take a survey of any ground related information and weild a brush to sweep up?

Plus, they could use the drone for other 'intelligence' tasks when not at the scene of an accident.

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WTF?

They could save even more time.

Forget the 'investigation'. It's just police theatre. It's not like a 'plane crash where the outcome of the investigation actually changes the way 'planes are flown, or modifies their design. Why not save time by just getting the crash victims to safety and concentrate on clearing the road.

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Because crashes often lead to prosecution

And they can do that a lot easier if they've collected evidence. If you've been directly affected you'll definitely be glad about it, but you benefit from the fact that everyone knows that real penalties exist for reckless and dangerous drivers in any event.

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Unhappy

Err...

... because it's potentially a crime scene? You can't just bin evidence because some people might be delayed by a few hours, especially when there are fatalities.

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Boffin

How much would it cost...

... to stop people driving like twunts on the motorway?

Perhaps if we dealt properly with middle lane Hogs, idiots yakking on their mobiles and not watching the road ahead, tailgaters, people who think that Lane 3 is the "fast lane", pillocks who think the safe stopping distance at 70mph is about 20 feet, morons who don't understand that when it's rainy your stopping distance increases, suicidal drivers who don't think that they should slow down in heavy rain or fog, prats who scythe across from lane 3 to lane 1 to take an exit which was clearly signposted a mile back, but they waited until the last minute to position for....

Accidents on motorways don't *just happen*, there's a reason for them and 99% of those are due to people driving stupidly.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably far more than it would cost to forcibly upgrade all cars to be driven by computer or to actually have a decent public transport system where, unless you have loads of personal luggage to take with you, it's not cheaper, quicker and less hassle to drive

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supplier?

has anyone been able to find out who is supplying the scanners?

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