OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma lawmaker is working to change the way motor vehicle accident deaths are handled.
Under current statute, once law enforcement has finished their investigation, the body of a car accident victim cannot be moved from the scene until a medical examiner has arrived and conducted their own investigation.
However, Sen. George Burns says this can be a problem since there aren’t enough medical examiners for all 77 counties. As a result, he says a body may remain at the scene for hours.
Burns filed Senate Bill 1123, which would allow paramedics to transport deceased individuals to a hospital after law enforcement officers complete their investigation. Once at the hospital, the medical examiner would complete their work.
“This bill is about dignity for those who have lost their lives in a car accident, as well as reducing trauma for their loved ones,” Burns said. “Family members had arrived on the scene long before the medical examiner, and it was a very distressing situation for them as they waited hours for the body to finally be removed from the accident site.”
Burns also noted that while the family waited for their loved one to be transported, a massive traffic back up occurred, causing more danger on the roadway than necessary.
“These traumatic situations and dangerous traffic build ups are happening because we don’t have enough MEs to properly cover each county,” Burns said. “We need to address this issue for the benefit of law enforcement, first responders, families, and MEs.”
The bill will be considered when the 2022 legislative session convenes in February.