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Matthew:

What's up with the broken glass on the roads after accidents? Whose job is it to clean up the mess? I've seen glass left in intersections near the beaches, Balboa Park, downtown, etc. I spend a lot on tires and don't want to drive over this road hazard.

-- Nameless, on the road

As we bash our way through life, it's the job of public employees to clean up after us. When the police are notified that there's a big ol' smash-up, they wheel to the scene and assess the damage, then put in a call to the appropriate crew. If it's only crunched glass and metal, they just need the city street maintenance guys with big brooms. If we have gasoline and coolant and blood and other ugly fluids seeping out, that's handled by Hazmat. But of course, all this assumes the accident is serious enough to require a visit by a cop. If there's no cop at the scene, there's no one to notify the city of the debris field. In the typical fender-bender, if no one's injured and it's not a hit-and-run and no fistfights break out, they trust us to handle the paperwork like grownups, without help from law enforcement. But because so many grownups these days are just superannuated teenagers, we don't always clean up after ourselves. The annoying shrapnel was probably left in the street by the basher and the bashee after a non-injury accident.

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