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Drivers passing accident scenes need to stop taking photos: Avondale fire chief

This vehicle rolled over near the Avondale access on the Trans-Canada Highway Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10.
This vehicle rolled over near the Avondale access on the Trans-Canada Highway Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10. - Keith Gosse

First responders forced to watch out for distracted motorists when tending to work

AVONDALE, N.L.

If you’re behind the wheel and driving past an accident scene, taking out your cellphone to snap a picture should be the farthest thing from your mind.

That’s according to Avondale Fire Chief Chad Costello. With Saturday seeing the first bit of significant snowfall for the impending winter season, his firefighters were busy responding to multiple accidents on the Trans-Canada Highway.

“It’s amazing to see how many people have cellphones out taking pictures and videos of accident scenes while driving past an accident scene,” the fire chief told The Compass. “It’s pretty incredible actually to see what some drivers do as they’re passing an accident scene, as they’re driving with their cellphones out.”

This behaviour not only endangers the driver, but also first responders who are in the midst of doing important work.

“It kind of makes the scene unsafe for firefighters and first responders that are attending the scene of an accident,” Costello said. “You can never turn your back to the traffic as it comes from behind you or if it’s in the opposite lane. On that Trans-Canada, you always need to keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.”

A 15-year veteran of the Avondale Volunteer Fire Department, Costello knows all too well his firefighters can expect to receive a few calls when the first bit of significant snowfall accumulates on the roads and highways. On Saturday, Nov. 10, the fire department responded to almost half-a-dozen accidents, with no major injuries reported.

“There was a lot of snow that fell in a short amount of time,” Costello said. “I don’t think people were prepared for that much snow so soon I think.”

With the winter season just about here, Costello said drivers need to keep an eye on the weather, get their winter tires installed if they’re not already on and reduce speeds when conditions are less-than-ideal.

editor@cbncompass.ca

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