What are those “Levels” of Inspection?

Leslie Lovre, Technical Assistant to R. Scott King, BSME ::::

A police report has long been among the first documents generated in a commercial vehicle crash investigation and reconstruction. In fact, in our office the first item in each file’s document inventory list is typically reserved for the police report. In addition to identifying the date, time, location, and parties involved, commercial vehicle crash investigation reports also often include detailed information related to the mechanical aspects of the commercial vehicle, as well as its driver. The data reflected in this section of the report normally follows a standard format, making specific reference to a certain “Level” of inspection criteria applied during the inspection. From time to time, clients have made specific requests for our engineers and investigators to apply that same “Level” of inspection noted within the police report, during our independent commercial vehicle forensic examination. Despite these specific requests, however, we have noted that many making the request often are not familiar with the details and applicability of the various inspection “levels” common to commercial vehicle investigations.

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1 Engineering Animation Vehicle Path

Recreating Vehicle Movements: Update from our Engineering Animation Department

Hugh Borbidge, BSME, Director of Engineering Animations ::::

There are many ways to re-create vehicle movement in a 3D computer environment. Some methods are better than others. We will talk about 3 different methods; simple, rigged, and physics based.

Engineering Animation Vehicle PathThe simple method is the easiest and fastest method as the name implies. The vehicle is treated as one object. The chassis and wheels do not move independent of each other. They all move as a unit. In the image above, the red lines represent the tire paths. You can see that the front and rear tires follow the same path even as the vehicle makes a turn. This is not scientifically accurate but can sometimes be useful for a “down and dirty” review for things like basic spatial relationships.

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Part Two: What’s In Our (Data Collection) Toolbox?

In case you missed it, click Here to read PART 1 of What’s In Our (Data Collection) Toolbox?

Jon W. Adams, Director of Architectural and Heritage Services ::::

DJS Associates utilizes a number of different tools to collect important data. Whether we are working on a forensic case, capturing as-built measurements for AEC documentation, or digitally preserving important historic landmarks, it is always important to have the right tool for the job. We previously discussed our use of DSLR cameras, video recording systems, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs). Here, we will look at our use of 3D laser scanning technology, and some of our laser scanners.

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Electric Car Crash-Test Ratings

Robert S. Kinder, Jr., Mechanical Engineer ::::

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently tested two electric vehicles, a 2017 BMW i3 and 2017 Tesla Model S. The testing consisted of five different crash tests. The highest obtainable award is the Top Safety Pick-Plus. Receiving the highest safety pick award requires that among the many parameters tested, a vehicle must have adequate headlights, crash prevention technology, and get the highest rating for all five crash tests. An example of crash prevention technology would be automatic braking. Currently, there are no fully electric cars for 2017 that made the Top Safety Pick-Plus list.

The Tesla Model S earned a low rating in a frontal crash that simulates a vehicle impacting a narrow object such as a tree or pole at approximately forty miles per hour. The crash dummy was able to hit its head on the steering wheel due to the forward motion that the seatbelt typically helps prevent. Crash testing also gives the manufacturer the opportunity to improve. Tesla will be making adjustments to improve the seat belt performance. Other areas that did not perform at the highest level were the headlights and roof strength. Both the Tesla and BMW earned good ratings for four out of the five crash tests. BMW received a lower mark in the head restraint test. The head restraint test identifies neck protection during a rear end collision.

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Aquatic Safety Group

Are Non-Fatal Drownings Noteworthy?

Tom J. Griffiths, ED.D. and Rachel Griffiths, Aquatic Safety Specialists ::::

The public and many water safety advocates are more than aware of the risk of fatal drowning, especially for children under the age of four, males, and African Americans. However, while focusing on fatalities, the frequency and significance of non-fatal drownings is often overlooked. Non-fatal drownings are just as devastating as fatal drowning, if not more so.

According to a Canadian Study presented at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention, non-fatal drowning has been estimated to be anywhere from twice to fifty times more common than fatal drownings.

As many as one third of all drowning survivors have sustained significant neurological damage due to anoxic encephalopathy. As a result, non-fatal drownings not only contribute significantly to the pain and suffering of the victim and family of the victim, but the financial burden of treating non-fatal drowning victims is astronomical.

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Vehicle Controls

Modified Vehicle Controls

R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::

The operator of a new, customized van equipped with specialized hand-controls was fatally injured in a single-vehicle incident when his van reportedly accelerated uncontrollably and struck a tree. After the incident, investigators downloaded data from the vehicle’s event data recorder and determined the vehicle speed exceeded 90 miles per hour. A witness described the operator’s panicked efforts to maintain control of the vehicle as it accelerated and swerved through traffic before departing the roadway.

Review of the vehicle modification records, as well as the training and certification materials provided with the modification equipment, revealed operational details of the modifications to the vehicle’s accelerator and braking systems, how those systems operated, and various safe-guards associated with them. In particular, this data showed that the vehicle’s accelerator pedal was adapted to permit both hand and foot operation. The safe-guard for this portion of operation required the use of a pedal block, designed to prevent unintended foot operation of the accelerator pedal while operating under hand control. Such safe-guarding was required as some disabled people, including the subject operator, suffer from involuntary leg and foot motion.

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