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Should drivers be banned from the road for filming crash scenes?

One crash can jam up traffic for hours around Seattle, such as this on on I-5. (WSDOT)

Any driver who has traveled the roads around Washington has experienced this at least once: Traffic snarls and slows behind a collisions. But when the driver passes by the scene, it may not be much to see. Everyone just slowed, and slowed, just to get a look.

What’s worse, is that some drivers take out their smartphones and try to film the scene.

Germany can relate. The country’s police have encountered drivers filming accident scenes so much, officials are now calling for legislative action. Some want to temporarily ban drivers from the road if they are caught filming an accident scene while passing by.

Perhaps it could work in Washington. That’s what The Candy, Mike, and Todd Show asked Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson.

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“Look, 28 years of doing this job, humans want to see what happened in a collisions,” Johnson said. “Once we get there … traffic is already backed up. We want people to slow down some past the collisions scene, because we want to be safe.”

“Of course you can’t hold your phone as a driver now, anyways,” he said. “I’ve observed people on their phones, filming, and run into the car in front of them.”

Trooper Johnson says that the full speed limit may not be appropriate around a crash scene. But a sluggish crawl apt for a lengthy look isn’t best either.

“We understand the curiosity, but we want to also keep traffic moving the best we can,” he said.

While he doesn’t observe it every time he visits a collisions scene, Johnson says he quite often witnesses people filming the scene with their phones as they drive past.

While Germany is ready to take legal action, and ban people from driving for the offense, Trooper Johnson isn’t as ready to take such action.

“I’m not sure if a legislative action is necessary here … we haven’t had to move people because they stopped to film. We keep traffic moving,” he said.

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