Dealerships Take Precautions When Test Driving Cars

The Hancock County Coroner's office has ruled the car crash that killed a 79 year old Pass Christian man Monday an accident. An autopsy conducted this morning showed Stanley Campbell did not have a heart attack as many had speculated.

Campbell was test driving a new car when the accident happened, which brings up questions about test driving safety. Authorities say 79-year-old Stanley Campbell had just pulled out of the parking lot of this Highway 90 car dealership when the fatal wreck happened. He was getting ready to take the car out for a test run when something went wrong. Police say the car crossed over the median and struck a West bound van head-on. "Our policy has worked," said Butch Hall, the co-owner of the car dealership that Campbell was shopping at. Hall says letting people test drive a car they are considering buying is a big part of the business. "You'd have the normal amount of worries but we try to eliminate as much and as best we can any of those worries that are there."

There are many precautions that are taken when someone is test driving a car. First, all drivers are accompanied by a sales representative. There is also a designated route drivers must take, and before ever leaving the lot they must produce a valid drivers license. Hall says "This gentleman had a valid drivers license with no restrictions. We went by our rules and guidelines unfortunately something else intervened and we had a tragic accident yesterday.

Although alcohol and drugs doesn't appear to have play a role in Monday's accident, some car salesmen say it is a concern when it comes to other drivers. David Deprio has been in auto sales for more than 10 years. He says, "There is no way to tell any detection of alcohol short of giving a breath test and I really don't ever see that coming about." Even still, Deprio says test rides can be dangerous, and points to an incident at a Gulfport dealership several years ago where a salesman was shot several times by a test driver. Deprio told WLOX News, "In your bigger cities New Orleans, Houston , Dallas it's major, there's robberies going on shooting and everything just on the demo ride. That's the reason some dealerships are reviewing their test driving policies.

One of the two salesmen injured in yesterday's accident remains in intensive care at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport. Another sales rep and the two people in the van were all treated and released from area hospitals.