Police drones could cut road closure times
A high-tech drone mapping system would reduce police highway closures from 6-8 hours down to just two hours total.
Q. Recently, all southbound DVP lanes were closed for four hours after someone jumped from an overhead bridge. In another case, a motorcycle crash closed the Gardiner Expressway for six hours. Why? One was obviously self-inflicted and the other a single-vehicle crash.
A. Eric Lai replies:
Rather than make assumptions, police must determine — based on evidence — if any fatality was self-inflicted, misadventure or a crime. High-speed motorcycle crashes tend to be serious or fatal, necessitating a detailed investigation. If the rider was cut off by another vehicle — even if there was no contact — that driver may be liable for charges.
A thorough investigation is necessary for: possible charges against another person; a coroner’s inquest; potential lawsuits against the road authority or automaker; to determine if any road factors may have contributed, and if anything (fencing, crisis hotline, phone) can be done to prevent such deaths in the future.
New technology may soon cut road closure times dramatically. York Regional Police Det. Sgt. Randy Slade advises that their Traffic Bureau Reconstruction Team is currently implementing a high-tech drone mapping system that should reduce police highway closures from 6-8 hours down to just two hours total.
Q. Apparently, I bought some bad gasoline. The engine light came on and it ran rough driving home. Days later, the light went out and it’s running fine again, but I’m upset they’d sell contaminated gas.
A. Eric Bristow of the Canadian Fuels Association replies:
Have a mechanic safely extract a sample of gasoline from your tank. If water or other sediment contamination is found, you can pursue a claim with the gas station owner. This presumes that contaminated fuel was from the last station you refuelled at — which might not be the case. A mechanical inspection may determine operating problems aren’t fuel-related.
Q. How can I check before filling if gasoline at the station has water in it?
A. Eric Lai replies:
The glass bubble with coloured float balls on some gas pumps will show if the fuel flow has water contamination. Even with clean gasoline, some moisture (from the environment) and sediments may collect at the bottom of your car’s gas tank over time. If the fuel level is allowed to drop to near-empty, contaminants may be drawn into and possibly damage the fuel pump and injectors.
Near-empty gas tanks also encourage condensation, particularly in cold weather.
Ethanol in Canadian gasoline acts as gas-line antifreeze and may alleviate moisture problems in regularly used vehicles.
Freelance writer Eric Lai is a regular contributor to Toronto Star Wheels. Email your nonmechanical questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org . Due to the volume of mail personal replies cannot be provided.