Coroner misses the point

March 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A is calling for better regulations of headlights following the death of a drunk man who was run over lying on a rural Hamilton road at night.

Hastings man William Gregory Hoskins was killed on January 15, 2012, after he was struck by a car on Marychurch Road in the early hours of the morning.

It is not known how he came to be lying on the road, Coroner Gary Evans said in findings released today.

Hoskins had travelled to Hamilton with family to attend a cousin’s wedding, and had been drinking at the reception.

A test found he had alcohol in his blood at a level of 190 milligrams per 100 milliletres, over twice the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers.

He had also smoked the equivalent of a single cannabis cigarette in the hours before his death, which may have accentuated the effects of alcohol, a report said. …

CORONER RECOMMENDATIONS

- Consideration be given to the creation of more detailed regulations as to the requirements of vehicle headlights.

- Consideration be given to revision of the warrant of fitness testing scheme with a view to measurement of the lux output of headlights and the distance at which they are operating efficiently.

- Greater emphasis be placed on the dangers of driving on dipped headlights on roads.

- Renewed consideration be given to the question of whether the Land Transport (Road User) Rules 2004 should contain a requirement or guide to the circumstances in which drivers must or should drive with their headlights on full beam.

I’ve got a simpler recommendation.

Don’t get so drunk and stoned that you fall asleep or unconscious on an unlit (or lit) road.

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21 Responses to “Coroner misses the point”

  1. Nostalgia-NZ (5,101 comments) says:

    Exactly.

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  2. Elaycee (4,356 comments) says:

    I’ve got a simpler recommendation. Don’t get so drunk and stoned that you fall asleep or unconscious on an unlit (or lit) road.

    100% correct.

    Actions have consequences.

    Yours sincerely,
    Darwin.

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  3. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    - Consideration be given to the creation of more detailed regulations as to the requirements of vehicle headlights.

    Which will be ignored.

    - Consideration be given to revision of the warrant of fitness testing scheme with a view to measurement of the lux output of headlights and the distance at which they are operating efficiently.

    Which will solve a vanishingly small problem (and almost certainly not this one), for an out of proportion cost.

    - Greater emphasis be placed on the dangers of driving on dipped headlights on roads.

    Which will be completely lost on all the other “awareness” campaigns. Did you know your newborn shouldn’t be yellow after two weeks? Why, here’s a giant guy in a penguin suit to remind you.

    – Renewed consideration be given to the question of whether the Land Transport (Road User) Rules 2004 should contain a requirement or guide to the circumstances in which drivers must or should drive with their headlights on full beam.

    Let’s think about changing the requirements in the rules, which no one will pay much attention to.

    Do these people even think about this stuff before the issue their rulings? Seriously?

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  4. nasska (11,198 comments) says:

    Earth to Gary Evans

    The concept of personal responsibility is close to death but still twitching. May I suggest that you concentrate on getting idiots to discern the difference between their Sleepyhead mattresses & a road.

    Then you may be addressing the real problem rather than dreaming up new ways to impose costs on the rest of us.

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  5. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    I’m grateful Darwinism rarely misses.

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  6. Jack5 (5,015 comments) says:

    This doesn’t seem to be right:

    He had also smoked the equivalent of a single cannabis cigarette in the hours before his death, which may have accentuated the effects of alcohol, a report said.

    Why not: alcohol may have accentuated the effects of the cannabis?

    Millions upon millions spent on reducing drunk driving, bugger all spent on the effects of other drugs on driving.

    Is the whole country stoned?

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  7. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Whilst I agree about the not getting drunk and sleeping on the road part – would we be saying the same if it was a child that had wandered on to the road and been hit? I once came across a child, in their pyjamas in the middle of the road at night. The parents were not even aware she had got out of bed and wandered outside.

    Fortunately I was sensible enough to be driving to the conditions – that is, at a speed sufficient to my area of vision by vehicle lights – so in essence I do agree with the coroner – people need to drive in a manner that allows them sufficient room to stop, no matter what they come across on the road. If the object hit was of sufficient strength the driver could have been the person killed – we owe it to ourselves to drive according to the conditions.

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  8. Crusader (303 comments) says:

    Well said Judith. ^^

    Getting drunk or stoned and falling asleep on a road is a silly thing. But some people should try to use some compassion. Put yourself into the situation of his parents. They will be devastated right now. Smartypants comments referring to Darwin’s Law are pretty insensitive. All of us will have done silly things in our lives, especially when we were young. Often it is a matter of luck that prevented us dying too. A touch of humility would help before pushing the “submit comment” button.

    I am not saying it is unacceptable to point out the stupidity of mixing alcohol/cannabis and roads, either as a pedestrian or a driver. I am saying there is a way to do this constructively, and a way to be an arse about it. Internet chat rooms bring out the arses.

    It is the job of the coroner to make recommendations in the public interest to reduce the chance of death and serious injury. It is an absolute no-brainer that high beams are what you should be using on rural roads (or if needing for some reason to dip headlights, slow down to a speed that allows safety with the reduced visibility). Yes mate, you do need to look out for unexpected objects on the road at all times, and be in a position to stop before you hit them. It is not anyone’s right to keep driving at 100 km/h in all conditions.

    It is suitable to write this into the Land Transport rules, and for cops to issue tickets to idiots who drive around at high speed with dipped headlights, since this is just as dangerous as not adjusting one’s speed to other adverse conditions (fog/rain/traffic etc).
    To equate this important role of the coroner with political correctness or erosion of personal responsibility is inane.

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  9. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Gary Evans, coroner, has only missed the point because he is obliged to by law. If he called the deceased a b****y idiot, the rellies would leap up and down and could seek judicial review. Former coroner Copeland (Auckland) frequently lambasted deceased idiots, and so many rellies got so upset that they managed to persuade MP’s to change the law on inquests to stop coroners speaking their minds in this way.

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  10. flipper (3,952 comments) says:

    Did Evans says that?

    It does not surprise me. He was a bottom tier conveyancer in an otherwise specialist Wellington legal firm, until the glue that built the practice died.

    Gary would be best employed counting Acorns…..or daisies.

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  11. nasska (11,198 comments) says:

    peterwn

    If Government decree stops coroners from making sensible comments they could always take the other sensible option of saying nothing at all.

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,270 comments) says:

    Reminds me of the old poster I saw once:

    I don’t have a drinking problem
    I drink, I get drunk, I fall down
    No problem!

    My sympathies to the family of the bloke who died, and to the bloke who hit him. But this was an “accident” waiting to happen, and does not need coronial intervention, however well meaning it is.

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  13. flipper (3,952 comments) says:

    Peterwn…
    Facts, are facts. They should be stated for the record.

    Coroners with no real world smarts, should breath through their noses…and stay away from computer keyboards.

    Findings of fact? Yes. Gratuitous comments/recommendations? No.

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  14. lolitasbrother (639 comments) says:

    I wear glasses, add maybe a bit of window screen dirt and those weird orange lights in most cities and your vision is knocked back.. I have never had a car where I thought the lights were any good on dip.
    We drive past cyclists in dark clothes, and often you will not see them till the last second.
    At night on some South Island roads you will see stock which have escaped , you don’t want to hit a Hereford cow at 100 kph

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  15. Odakyu-sen (577 comments) says:

    I resent officials using the failings of the lowest common denominator as an excuse to expand government functions and tighten the grip on the rest of society, through increased regulation (and higher taxation to pay for it).

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  16. Michael (903 comments) says:

    So, Coroner Gary Evans want Japanese, Korean, German, French, British, American (and everybody else) to change their vehicle manufacturing standards so a drunk and stoned kiwi who lies in the road has a greater chance of not being run over.

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  17. annie (539 comments) says:

    A little surprising that Gary Evans said this. In medical cases at least, he has usually been the epitome of quiet good sense, unlike many of our other coroners.

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  18. Viking2 (11,371 comments) says:

    HMM, for a longtime I have considered that most drivers drive too close to their front bumper. Not looking sufficiently far enough ahead to negate what may be coming. This is aided by the short distance that headlights are set at so its unsurprising that this could happen. Now the guy killed was stupid no doubt but hit a cow or a horse and its you that happens to have your head lodged up the horses arse.
    Short sighted to narrow this to this particular person. Lack of long vision happens all the time.
    One of the advantages that truck drivers have is the grandstand view ahead. Most cars these days are so low that the driver does not have a good view of the road and its even worse when they sit in slumped seats.

    Have you ever wondered why so many have accidents on rail crossings?
    Seems a dumb question but think a bit.
    Those lights and crossing bells were designed for the past. In today’s cars the lights are well up out of easy eyesight and the bells are useless as they cannot be heard in modern cars which are sound proofed.
    So the rail warnings were designed open topped for t’s and despite many years of technological innovation they remain the same. No such innovation as lighting the poles so that the poles flash. The lights themselves are so dull that their luminosity creates no light variations to attract attention.
    Worse NZ rail still blame drivers for not seeing the lights nor hearing the ding dong.

    In any other workplace an employer would have had to make vast improvements but not NZ Rail.

    So , Evans actually has raised an issue worth considering.

    P.S. The same people ranting at Evans are also supporters of allowing people to use their cellphones when driving. Not 15 minutes ago I saw an aware drive prevent a collision at at major intersection. Like me he saw the driver of the other vehicle who was turning right across the main lanes to a side road on his phone and reading his text or what ever and turning without even looking.
    There are idiots put there.

    Next time when you haven’t stopped in half the clear distance ahead then you are in the wrong IMHO. That includes for dogs, ducks,logs and dead people.

    When you go out tonight check and see just how far you can see an object on the road in the dark from your low down seat. The earth curvature soon has an effect. Ask any sailor.

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  19. tvb (4,330 comments) says:

    Coroners are essentially fact finding bodies but they are on much more shakier ground when they make far reaching recommendations to public policy. This is not usually done with proper analysis especially economic consequences. They can make their recommendations if they like but when Judicial Officers stray into public policy they risk criticism if their views are considered ill thought through and superficial.

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  20. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    As usual, it was not his fault!!!!

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  21. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    How on earth did such a doofus moron become a coroner ?

    Can any effing idiot become a coroner ?

    Even more inexplicable is that there seems to be support from some for his conclusion.

    Go figure.

    It would be no suprise if this effing idiot suggested that roads should be banned because some
    drong ,may lie down on one when he was pissed and stoned and be run over.

    Makes as much sense.

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