Forensic Engineering Investigation of a Three-Vehicle Accident

Article Author: Martin E. Gordon, P.E. (NAFE 699)

Volume: 31
Volume #: 2
Month: December
Year: 2014

Download this paper


An accident involving three vehicles resulted in serious injuries to one of the drivers. It was alleged that the driver was injured because both of the other operators were inattentive and made driving errors. Through the use of electronic data retrieval and computer crash simulation, it was shown that only one of the non-injured drivers made a driving error. A computer-aided dynamic crash simulation program (PC-Crash) was used to show the motion of the vehicles after impact. Because no formal police report was completed for the accident, electronic data retrieval and computer-aided engineering methods were needed to fill in the data voids. Witness statements, in conjunction with the reconstructed data, allowed a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in both the primary and secondary collisions. 


Forensic engineering, accident reconstruction, EDR, crash simulation, distracted driving, perception reaction time