At the 2019 PARMA Annual Conference, Jeffrey Bonsall from Momentum Engineering discussed how accident reconstruction can be useful in investigating auto accidents.
Steps in Accident Investigation
- Determine causal factors
- Collect and retain data
- Access damages
- Provide key information to make informed decisions
- Effectively communicate with experts
- Access the necessity of working with other experts
Useful Data Sources For Accident Investigation
- Police reports
- Online video including news video
- Social media
- Repair estimates
- Quality photos (original JPEG file)
- Deposition testimony and recorded Statements
- Transportation engineering records
A rapid response accident investigation will include:
- Preserving evidence through early scene documentation and physical evidence from the vehicles.
- Evaluating the case including potential for shared liability in the accident.
- Use of a drone to take photos above the accident scene after things are marked on the ground.
- Using advanced laser scanning techniques to provide computer enhanced photographs that have accurate measurements included with them. These are used to create computer animated accident reconstruction videos.
Event Data Recorder
The vehicle’s Event Data Recorder can provide a significant amount of information about an accident. Every vehicle manufactured after 2012 has this data recorder. The data these recorders capture include rapid change in speed caused by a crash, the direction the vehicle moved because of an impact, and information about how many times the vehicle rolled over. It also captures data around steering of the vehicle so you can tell if the driver tried to swerve. Data around acceleration, engine speed, breaking information, cruise control usage, and airbag deployment is also captured.
Data sensors also collect information around what is being played through the stereo, gear shifts, connecting and disconnecting devices, doors opening and closing, and so much more. Some of this data could be useful in showing a driver was distracted at the time of an accident.
Telematics capture even more data including the location of the vehicle at all times. Telematics also typically collect video from the front, rear, and driver.