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What Equipment is Used in Trafffic Accident Investigations?

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 29 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Accident Investigation Accident

Q.

I'm doing a Forensic Science course at college, and I am doing a road traffic accident investigation.

Part of this assignment is to do a presentation which explains investigation techniques and equipment, but I have looked on many sites and can't find anything that tells me WHAT equipment is actually used!

(Miss Nicole Kerr, 15 October 2008)

A.

The role of a traffic accident investigator is crucial when it comes to piecing together the puzzle of a collision scene. There are a number of essential items that all good road traffic accident investigators should own and have available at the scene of a collision. Most are provided by the company that the investigator is working for, however many will choose to purchase extra items to ensure that they can be efficient on the job. It is often a rather gruesome occupation, but can be very fulfilling, especially when you are able to provide a detailed account of the scene. Many victims families rely on a good accident investigator to put their mind at ease after an accident, so ensuring you're equipped for the job is essential.

Marking tools are among the most important tools for any good crash investigator. There are a number of marking tools that you must have in your kit:

  • Chalk – to make quick temporary marks, but remember it washes off in the rain
  • Yellow lumber crayon – marks most surfaces and in all weather types
  • Spray chalk – Similar to the bright orange spray that surveyors use. Often used to mark the position of vehicles on dry surfaces, but it will eventually wash off
  • Spray paint – Semi-permanent, so only use if absolutely necessary
  • Nails, washers and bottle caps. Nail a bottle cap to mark the zero point on a base line

You should also have a number of measuring tools available in your investigation kit including:

  • 100-ft and 25-ft steel or fibreglass measuring tape
  • 8-ft steel measuring tape and a measuring wheel
  • Surveyor pins and a hammer

Recording tools are an essential part of a crash investigators tool kit and many people have their own preferences as to which they’ll use. Most people have all, or a mix of the items outlined below:

  • Clipboard, paper, pens, pencils, report forms, intersection diagrams and clear plastic sheets or plastic bags to put your reports in if it’s raining
  • Camera and micro tape recorder. The camera can be used to document the scene accurately and the tape recorder to easily take notes and thoughts down

Other tools of the trade that aren’t specific to accident investigators, but can be used by them are items such as a flashlight, flares, traffic cones, compass, evidence envelopes and something to carry everything in.

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A traffic accident meant traffic on the M40 was solid. I decided to go up and over the next junction so went almost 1 mile down the inside lane which had little traffic on it. It was dark and headlight on. The next overhead sign said "Accident just after J3". I decided to stay on the M40 after all in case I could not get back on, so I had to get back onto the 3rd lane and off the 4th lane as the 4th turned into the slip road. Traffic was still static on the 3 lanes. I saw an articulated lorry indicating left waiting to come off the motorway once the traffic moved. He was at an angle into the 4th lane so I pulled into the gap in front of him, thinking he had seen me driving up almost a mile, indicating right all the while. When the traffic moved, I didn't have time to think before I felt the lorry hit my car. I was shocked and didn't do anything. He then did it again. I hooted whilst pulling away to a safe place ahead, ie onto the slip road hatches. I thought he would do the same but he turned back into his lane and carried on. He didn't get out nor did he stop apart from when the traffic stopped. It was too intimidating to get out and bang on his door, even if I could reach the door, and all dark not showing anybody in the cab. We were each established in our lanes, we were each indicating to get into each other's lanes but he moved and went into my car just above the rear tyre on the driver's side making a big dent.I only moved after that, and to move away. I think I must have been in his blind spot but he did not move "when it was safe to do so" he moved when it was not safe to do so and musthave been distracted not to have seen me.Whose fault is it?
Ms M.S. - 29-Apr-19 @ 4:26 PM
Mike - Your Question:
I was involved in a RTC at a mini-roundabout. I believe that I was already on the roundabout, when a driver coming from the other direction entered the roundabout from my right and we collided.The accident happened a couple of months ago and today I received a phone call from a WPC asking me to go to a police station to view some CCTV footage.She advised me to take a Solicitor with me.Can anyone advise on whether I have to attend the Police Station, please?Also, can the Police prosecute me, based on CCTV footage?

Our Response:
We'd advise that you do as suggested. A solicitor will be able to tell you waht the police can and can't do once you get to the station.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:23 PM
I was involved in a RTC at a mini-roundabout.I believe that I was already on the roundabout, when a driver coming from the other direction entered the roundabout from my right and we collided. The accident happened a couple of months ago and today I received a phone call from a WPC asking me to go to a police station to view some CCTV footage. She advised me to take a Solicitor with me. Can anyone advise on whether I have to attend the Police Station, please? Also, can the Police prosecute me, based on CCTV footage?
Mike - 9-Nov-16 @ 8:41 PM
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