The Province of British Columbia reports on another distraction related accident involving a Police Officer using an on-board computer, this time resulting in a fatality.

An inquest heard that a police cruiser driven by a Surrey RCMP Constable was being driven at about 90 kilometres per hour but had not activated his lights or siren when he hit a pedestrian, who was jaywalking.

Expert testimony stated:

“the car was at a high acceleration rate” just seconds before the crash, according to recorded GPS and mechanical data, with the gas pedal “very close to the floor.”

The officer had also apparently received a potentially distracting message over his mobile data terminal (police laptop) just seconds before the impact. He was rushing to respond to a broadcast report of a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash.

The weather, road conditions or mechanical issues were not believed to be factors, as it was cold but clear with no ice, and the car was in good working condition.

Inquest counsel Roderick MacKenzie cited an ICBC report that stated there had been at least 16 pedestrian-vehicle incidents and three fatalities on that stretch of King George near the Skytrain, remarking that an officer in Surrey should have been alert to the pedestrian jaywalking risk in that area.

Sgt. Curtis Burks, third on scene, testified that Luk had made a spontaneous admission to him at the scene, saying:

“High rate of speed … Looked at MDT … Didn’t see anyone crossing the road.”

Another reminder of the dangers of even momentary driver distraction.

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