Site Exams Personnel from ARA will visit the accident site to familiarize themselves with the location, look for evidence which can be related to the subject accident, and to document the site and any evidence. Most often, the site will be measured using a Nikon DTM-420 laser total station. This device is more accurate than older methods and is usually faster, especially for sites which involve curves. Nikon digital cameras are used to produce digital images of the site, traffic control devices, evidence, and the approaches to the area of impact for each driver. The measurements obtained are used to produce a scaled diagram of the site and evidence. This diagram, with the police measurements and vehicle dynamics, becomes the basis of our analysis and is often used an an exhibit at trial.
Vehicle Exams Whenever possible, personnel from ARA will examine the vehicle(s) involved in the accident. Measurements and digital images will be taken to document collision related damage. Overall examination of the vehicle will show the pre-crash condition of the vehicle. Tires, lights, and window glass will be examined and the condition will be noted. If any specific mechanical defects are observed or suspected, ARA can recommed a forensic mechanic with many years of both mechanical and courtroom experience. Damage measurements can provide a considerable amount of information about a collision. If the identity of the driver of a vehicle is an issue, the vehicle examination should occur as soon after the collision as possible. Every day that the vehicle is exposed to the elements can result in the loss of valuable evidence.
Data Downloads When possible, ARA Field Technician Weston Brown will attempt to download data from the vehicle's data recorder. This device can provide several seconds of useful data leading up to the impact, including vehicle speed, throttle position, brake on or off, seat belt status, and other data. This data will be integrated into the analysis; the data itself does not replace a collision reconstruction analysis, but can support or refute such analysis.
Dynamic TestingARA has the equipment to conduct dynamic testing. Whether acceleration or deceleration values are an issue, ARA has the ability to conduct testing. How fast do pedestrians walk? How fast was the bicycle going? These are also tests that can be conducted. Did the bush or the sign obstruct the driver's view? Only testing done at the site can provide a concrete answer. Testing will be documented by digital images or videotape as appropriate.
Forensic Mapping The total station allows ARA to measure and produce a diagram any type of scene in 2D or 3D as necessary. In the past, we have provided diagrams of a playground, a staircase at a resort, and the yard of a residence, among other non-vehicular sites.