Laser technology for West Yorkshire motorways

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Laser technology is to be used to speed up crash scene investigations and re-open motorways quicker in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police are to use laser scanners which can rapidly create a 3D image of a crash site to avoid investigators having to keep lengths of motorways open while they survey numerous sections.

The new equipment, which will cost £2.7m across the country, should reduce disruption to other motorway users by avoiding such road closures which average six hours after serious smashes.

In 2010 there were more than 18,000 full or partial motorway closures lasting over 20,000 hours.

The new system enables the digital image to be remotely viewed on a computer screen, enabliing crash investigators to take measurements of vehicles locations and examine other factors.

Chief Supt Barry South of West Yorkshire’s operational support services, said: “We are always looking to be at the forefront of technology if there is an operational policing benefit.”

“This is one such example where new technology assists and means we spend as little time as is absolutely necessary at the scene. When there is a serious road traffic collision officers need to carry out a very complex and detailed investigation to determine the exact causes,” he said. “We appreciate this can take time and sometimes delay motorists going about their daily business but we have to ensure that all appropriate work is carried out before any evidence is lost.”

Roads Minister Mike Penning said the technology will benefit drivers “by reducing incident clear up times by 39 minutes on average”.

He said the scanners would be “rolled out where needed most” to stop traffic jams. “But even worse is the shocking £1bn cost of those lost hours for our economy,” he added.

Mark Cashin

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