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Crash photos

Published August 16. 2012 05:02PM

Obviously the news media covers many serious vehicle accidents. Fortunately, discretion is used whereby the media doesn't use photos of deceased or badly injured victims.

However, if you visit various internet sites you will find some pretty gory sites posted from accident scenes. In some cases, the photos you see might have been taken by rescue workers.

Fortunately, most fire and ambulance personnel are professionals who would never think of taking photos of crash victims and displaying them. No matter what profession or activity, you always have a few bad examples.

That's why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday signed a bill, commonly know as "Cathy's Law," prohibiting first responders from posting online photos and video of accident victims without the family's permission.

Cathy's Law was enacted for Cathy Bates.

The 40-year-old Bates was killed Oct. 23, 2009 when her sport-utility vehicle hit another SUV head-on just south of the intersection with West Bay Avenue on Route 72 in Barnegat, N.J.

After the crash, Bates was transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford, where she was pronounced dead 90 minutes later. While emergency personnel tried to save Bates, a member of the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Fire Company took photos of her inside the crushed car and posted them on Facebook, officials said.

According to the bill passed in New Jersey, a first responder found guilty of violating the bill can face up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $10,000.

It's a common sense bill that was passed in New Jersey, and now we'd like to see Pennsylvania pass similar legislation.

It's horrible to think of a family member or friend involved in a horrible traffic accident. We can't imagine the shock of seeing pictures of a deceased accident victim - especially someone we know - being splashed across the Internet. It's something that shouldn't happen to anyone.

Pennsylvania state lawmakers should pass similar legislation as New Jersey did as soon as possible.

By Ron Gower

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