Smarter Cars, Brighter Roads

Nighttime Photography in Collision Reconstruction

Robert T. Lynch, PE, Senior Mechanical Engineer ::::
To mitigate pedestrian collisions, automobile manufacturers, such as Toyota, have started to install autonomous tech, including pedestrian detection systems and automatic high beams, as standard equipment across all models. With new high-intensity, energy-efficient street lighting technology coming down in price as well as maintenance and operational costs, more and more municipalities are adding street lights along their roadways, especially in areas with high pedestrian traffic.
Properly positioned street lighting makes a roadway safer for pedestrians, but it also presents an added challenge to the reconstructionist attempting to evaluate what the lighting conditions were at the time of the subject incident. DJS Associates was recently retained to conduct a nighttime site inspection with the hope of acquiring representative photographs to show how dark/bright the roadway was under similar conditions as the time of the subject incident. To our surprise, multiple street lights were added along the opposite side of the roadway between the incident and the inspection. The conditions were not substantially similar to those at the time of the incident, so nighttime photographs would have provided little to no benefit to the reconstruction. Continue reading “Smarter Cars, Brighter Roads”