Accident Investigations

Scientific Methods for Accident Investigations

Most accident investigation authorities impose time and resource constraints, and we can all think of cases where the resulting pressure on investigators has caused poor quality reports. At the same time, our work is increasingly subject to critical review, both in the Press and in the Courts. We need a way to argue effectively for the time and resources we need, so that we can do our jobs properly. If at the same time we can work in such a way that our work can stand up to critical inspection, so much the better. One way to argue against constraints on investigations is to have a recognised formal methodology. If the investigation is only half done, we can then show that this is so, and demonstrate the consequences of producing a halfbaked report.

Accident Investigation

Thousands of accidents occur throughout the United States every day. The failure of people, equipment, supplies, or surroundings to behave or react as expected cause most of the accidents. Accident investigations determine how and why these failures occur. By using the information gained through an investigation, a similar or perhaps more disastrous accident may be prevented. Conduct accident investigations with accident prevention in mind. Investigations are NOT to place blame.

An accident is any unplanned event that results in personal injury or in property damage. When the personal injury requires little or no treatment, it is minor. If it results in a fatality or in a permanent total, permanent partial, or temporary total (lost-time) disability, it is serious. Similarly, property damage may be minor or serious. Investigate all accidents regardless of the extent of injury or damage.

Accidents are part of a broad group of events that adversely affect the completion of a task. These events are incidents. For simplicity, the procedures discussed in later sections refer only to accidents. They are, however, also applicable to incidents.

This discussion introduces the reader to basic accident investigation procedures and describes accident analysis techniques.

Use of Human Factors Analysis for Wildland Fire Accident Investigations

Accident investigators at any level are challenged with identifying causal factors and making preventative recommendations. This task can be particularly complicated considering that 70-80% of accidents are associated with human error. Due to complexities of the wildland fire environment, this is especially challenging when investigating a wildland fire-related accident. Upon reviewing past accident investigations within the United States Federal wildland fire program, many investigations stop short of identifying root causes of human factors that contributed to the accidents. This element of investigation is critical in accident prevention and can have a direct impact on wildland fire policies and standards.

The Quality of Medical Accident Investigations and Analyses

Adverse events, or accidents, in healthcare can have significant clinical outcomes including loss of property, health (morbidity), and life (mortality). Healthcare accidents have features that make post-event investigations particularly difficult. The investigation and analysis of medical accidents is intended to discover information that explains the nature and cause of what occurred in the interest of preventing or minimizing future loss. The thorough, objective investigation of medical adverse events rarely happens due to the complexity of the environment, litigation, risk, and socio-political implications. Special concerns can undermine investigation depth, breadth, and quality. Healthcare’s distinct difference from other high hazard sectors such as aviation and nuclear power requires a unique approach. Healthcare accident examination requires detailed domain knowledge and the use of diverse investigation methods. This paper describes the current state of medical accident analysis, obstacles to understanding such accidents and strategies to overcome them, as well as future investigation and analysis approaches.

An Analysis of Available Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Data

The report has three purposes, all relating to Bicycle/Pedestrian Accident data.

The first purpose is to take stock of what is known or might reasonably be inferred about bicycle and pedestrian accidents in New York State. The idea is to review readily available data and summarize the scope and character of the problem.

The second purpose is to help guide the accident field investigations that will take place later in the project. This report will be shared with members of the local task force in the four pilot counties selected for participation in this grant, other transportation and enforcement officials, at all levels of government, as well as local bicycle and pedestrian constituencies and other interested citizens. It is NYBC?

hope that this report will help generate input and support for the investigations, which will include detailed engineering analyses of problem sites. This report will be used to help narrow the selection of initial investigation areas to those counties most likely to yield useful results.

The third purpose is to suggest possible improvements in local and Statewide data collection systems and current analytical approaches. The report offers observations on the available data, discussing sources and related issues. The report provides some ideas on how this data might be made more complete and how bicycle and pedestrian accidents can be better reported.

Cause and Contributing Factors in Traffic Accidents

The ultimate goal of a traffic accident investigation or reconstruction is to determine the events of the accident, or what caused the accident. There are many publications available on the subject of cause as cause is the heart of the issue at trial. The subject matter can be complex since there are so many circumstances and factors that must be considered in a cause analysis. There is also the matter of what does “cause” mean?

The use of the UDS-Black Box in car accidents: Technical, legal, economical and political aspects

Whatever the outcome of the experts investigations will be, it will be of benefit. First it will be a benefit for justice. Facts will be provided which hardly can be argued about. Justice as a means of bringing the peace of law to opponents will be achieved. Secondly it will also have political and economical dimensions: The result will either show that by means of modern technology also an ordinary citizen can win his case against those in power. Victims of car accidents and their lawyers fighting endlessly their cases in the courts and with the insurance companies might share this opinion. Or the tax payer will be content to learn that public budgets can not be abused for unjustified claims. Insurance companies and their clients who complain about rising premiums might share this opinion.

Use of Photogrammetry for Investigation of Traffic Incident Scenes

This task examined how the Texas Department of Transportation and police agencies might use photogrammetry to assist in the clearing of major incident scenes. Using the literature and surveys of police agencies currently using photogrammetry, the research team learned some basic information about the technology and theory behind photogrammetry and its application in the field. This letter report documents the findings of this literature, provides some basic information on photogrammetry, and documents its applications by several police agencies throughout the United States and the world. The researchers learned that, for the most part, the use of photogrammetry in incidents is still largely in the testing phase. Preliminary and anecdotal results from interviews with law enforcement agencies are that photogrammetry is costeffective (compared to a Total Station) as long as the necessary training for basic proficiency is provided. Some drawbacks to photogrammetry include more processing time by officers in the office, difficulty photographing long scenes, and difficulty seeing skid marks and other evidence at the scene without enhancing the scene photos.



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