The process of automotive traffic crash investigation and reconstruction is a process of obtaining, recording, refining and analyzing information from a crash. This data comes from a variety of sources, but overall the evidence is obtained from the vehicles, the crash scene and witnesses/drivers. To the untrained observer this data may be an unrecognizable jumble of information. A skilled investigator assembles this data and sorts it into a package of organized evidence that is ready to be scientifically evaluated. The end product is a compilation of facts and evidence that is then used to reconstruct a transportation casualty.
The investigative process of any reconstruction works back through the chain of events from the final rest positions of the units involved. This process involves a skillful and disciplined study of the evidence and application of basic science.
Not every question about an automotive crash can be answered to a reasonable degree of certainty. Some issues may remain indeterminate. The quality and quantity of information is critical to a reconstruction. The Introtech staff uses logic and facts to arrive at conclusions about automotive crashes.
Ultimately automotive crash reconstruction strives to answer key questions about a crash.
An in-depth investigation should include:
- Position of the vehicles on the roadway at various points of time
- Analyzing the links in the chain of events
- Determining speed of the vehicles
- Direction of travel
- Crash avoidability
- Calculating time, speed and distance relationships
- Analyzing driver actions or inaction
- Plotting vehicles at first contact, maximum engagement and disengagement
- Calculation severity of collision metrics
- Driving strategy and tactics
- Evaluating whether traffic law violations were a factor to the cause of a crash
- Who was driving
- Evaluating contributing factors
- Lines of sight and visibility factors
- Effect of weather and road conditions
- Effect of alcohol and other psychophysical considerations