J. Stannard Baker, the Father of Traffic Accident Reconstruction, earned this informal title for his work in advancing and developing the science of Traffic Accident Reconstruction while employed at the Northwestern University Traffic Institute in the 1940’s. I was privileged to be his student, and a student of his (what’s the word – next guy?) Lynn Fricke during my days on staff at the Traffic Institue. Since the time of pencil, paper, and slide rule, traffic accident reconstruction has been greatly aided by technological developments in many areas. Consider:
Electronic Total Stations: TARAS uses the latest technology in Nikon reflectorless laser mapping to create computerized accident scene diagrams, and ultimately 2D and 3D environments for advanced accident analysis. (provide Nikon link?)
Computer Analysis and Simulation: Engineering Dynamics HVE 2D+ software is recognized as the top of the line computer analysis tool. When the demands of an investigation require advanced analysis, TARAS will provide court qualified expertise and technology to create a scientific visualization based upon compliance to the laws of motion. An animation is simply a cartoon, hopefully based on sound scientific analysis, BUT a scientific visualization is much, much more. (Provide Link)
Vehicle Dynamics Testing: Test vehicles can be used as a platform to collect data concerning vehicle stopping, steering, and acceleration capabilities. Vericom Corporation has long pioneered vehicle instrumentation for accident reconstruction research. There is often no better process to define how varied vehicles may perform under accident conditions. (provide link to Vericom)
Sound and Light Metering: Often traffic accidents require a definition of what could be seen or heard under the conditions present at the time of the collision. Whether it be the sound of an approaching train or emergency vehicle, or the headlamp pattern of an accident vehicle, TARAS utilizes sound and light meters as necessary to define these important parameters of human perception and performance.