Crash reconstruction and investigation isn’t a nice job, but it has to be done. In many western countries, the number of fatalities is falling even as traffic volumes grow, due in part to studying the cause and effect of traffic accidents.This in turn has influenced the creation of the safety systems now routinely fitted to passenger vehicles.This experience should aid countries that are only now becoming heavily motorized.
There has been something of a revolution in the effectiveness of Collision Investigation Units in recent years, thanks to the uptake of superior apparatus for use in accident reconstruction and simulation.
Case Study: Collision Investigation Unit, Cumbria
Every police force in the UK has a dedicated Collision Investigation Unit (CIU) and the Cumbrian division were the first to adopt VBOX technology – principally using a four-camera, 20Hz, Video VBOX Pro – in almost every reconstruction they carry out.
A common requirement when conducting accident reconstruction is the measurement of probable reaction time. In order to ascertain if a witness account is truthful (speed being the most commonly contentious issue) the Video VBOX will be used to measure distance to impact, determining if there was sufficient space – and therefore time – to avoid a collision. By highlighting markings on the road and tracing the route taken, the evidence can be presented in a starkly clear fashion to a jury tasked with making a judgement on the case. Shaun McKeown, of the Cumbrian CIU, explains:
“It’s easy enough to measure a reaction-time distance, but it’s quite another to get a jury of ordinary people to understand the point you’re making. We always present data, but they don’t like looking at graphs and equations. So we configure the Video VBOX with the main view showing the path of the vehicle, with the picture-in-picture trained on the ground on which we have painted highlights of skid marks or gouges in the road surface. The overlaid graphics then display the distance to impact, and when this type of evidence is played they get it immediately.”
The simplicity with which complex data can be displayed is the Video VBOX’s main strength: graphically-enhanced footage is overwhelmingly more effective at conveying information than a dry explanation of diagrams – plus it actually gives the viewer a direct connection to the environment in which the collision occurred.
The text above is an extract from an article in Automotive Testing Technology magazine, and the full content is available here.