Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coroners Get Flashing Lights

I must be missing something. Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a bill that allows coroners to put flashing lights and sirens on their cars so they can get to accident scenes more quickly. It seems they don't like to wait for traffic on the way to doing their jobs.

This might make sense if the coroners were en route to resuscitate the accident victims. But by definition, coroners examine dead people, and only dead people, for whom time is no longer of the essence.

I don't see why they need to race to the scene -- possibly endangering the rest of us who are still alive.

A justification offered for the bill is that the coroners need to arrive on the scene before the evidence gets disturbed. That seems to assume a certain incompetence on the part of the police. Certainly the victim is in no position to obstruct justice or hide evidence.

The second justification is that the coroners were worried about parking along busy roads at the accident scene. Fair enough, but aren't the police already there, with police lights flashing?

The bill was probably well-intentioned, and yet it smacks of self-importance.

More disturbing is the breadth of issues that our legislators and governor fail to address while they fiddle with trivialities. Where is their sense of priority? Even assuming that coroners need flashing lights, should we not do something about the Commonwealth's fiscal mess first? Where are the flashing lights for that?

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