Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Collisions

The Difficult Task of Avoiding Pedestrians While Driving at Night

An alarming 6,516 pedestrians were killed, and 54,769 pedestrians were injured as a result of traffic crashes in 2020 (NHTSA, 2022). A large majority (77%) of these pedestrian fatalities occurred in low luminance conditions such as nighttime while only 20% occurred in daylight (NHTSA, 2022). This dramatic difference between pedestrian fatalities during the night and day is seen even when controlling for driver fatigue and alcohol consumption (Owens & Sivak, 1996). This phenomenon prompts the question as what is so dangerous about being a pedestrian at night? Read More

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The Collision Reconstruction Matrix – The Human

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Murder, suicide, deceit, and intrigue… car crashes? You bet! In our next installment of the 9-Cell Collision Matrix let us dive a little deeper into the glue that binds all this together, the human element.

Photo by Mark Turner

Let’s begin with the most basic human element at the root cause of car wrecks, our old friend inattention. Inattention… a vast word that encompasses many lackadaisical conditions. The daydreaming 16-year-old in math class, the radio knob turner, the back seat talker, the quarter pounder with cheese eater, and perhaps the most offensive, the cell phone user. All very dangerous behind the wheel, and one very dangerous to your future… as it turns out, you will always need good math skills… ask me how I know? Driving is of course a divided attention endeavor, Read More

The Best Use of Visibility Aids – Contrast

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There are various visibility aids marketed for vulnerable road users (VRUs). Here, the term VRU is used to describe unprotected road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Visibility aids are designed to increase a VRU’s contrast within their environment, making them more distinguishable from the background to a driver. These visibility aids can include both active and passive ways to increase the VRU’s contrast, therefore their visibility. As the name implies, active visibility aids actively transmit light and are powered by a source (i.e., battery powered bicycle headlights and taillights) while passive visibility aids passively reflect light coming from outside sources (i.e., fluorescent, and retroreflective clothing).

There are a wide variety of active visibility aids to choose from on the market. For example, Read More

The Vehicle (EDR)

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In a previous blog post, we began to delve a little deeper into the vehicle aspect of the 9-Cell Collision Matrix by taking a look at tires. Let’s now take a closer look at the very diverse and interesting topic of Event Data Recorder (EDR) data. Read More

If There is a Human, There are Human Factors

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If there is a human involved in the case, there is a good chance that human factors theories and principles will be applicable. Human factors is the study of people interacting with their surrounding environment. A human factors expert applies their knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to each unique case to assess the physical, sensory, and cognitive factors that caused a person to behave a certain way within the surrounding environment.

Consider the following situations in which a human factors expert would be beneficial: Read More

The Vehicle – Tires

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In a previous blog post, I gave an overall introduction to the 9-Cell Collision Matrix as an investigative tool used in collision reconstruction. Now let’s focus in a little at each element.

They are called car wrecks, after all…so let’s start with a more comprehensive look at the vehicle component of the matrix.  This review of the vehicle before, during, and after the collision will highlight a few important factors but is not meant to be all-inclusive.  So, let’s get started! Read More

WARREN Welcomes Human Factors Consultant Ellen Szubski, Ph.D.

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Please join us in welcoming Human Factors Expert Ellen Szubski, Ph.D, to the WARREN family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen’s Areas of Expertise Include:

  • Human Factors & Safety
  • Illumination Evaluation
  • OSHA Regulations
  • Premises Liability
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Workplace injuries
  • Vehicle/Pedestrian/Bicycle Crash Investigation

Ellen Szubski is a human factors consultant with Warren. Her expertise focuses on the crash investigations and other personal injury matters. These matters often include collisions and/or crashes involving vulnerable road users and drivers, driver distraction, and slips, trips. & falls. She utilizers her knowledge of OSHA regulations, codes and standards in her analysis of premises liability incident and safety consulting.

Ellen graduated from Clemson University with a Master of Science in Applied Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Factors Psychology. She did her dissertation on “The Influence of Pedestrian Biological Motion on Time-To-Collision Estimates at Night.”  Ellen is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society (HFES) and its Forensic Professional Technical Group.  She has presented multiple times at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual meetings.

The Collision Reconstruction Matrix

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It’s mid-January, the high today is 28 degrees with lows in the teens as the Carolinas are in the grip of a Canadian cold front and I’m on call tonight. The phone rings at 3:00 am; yes Sir, three cars with two fatalities, I-85 northbound, yes Sir, on the way. Despite the hurdles that lie in front of me cold, fatigue, the loss of life – my job with the South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is to investigate, document, and ultimately prosecute chargeable collisions. To properly reconstruct this collision, three essential and distinct categories must be investigated and documented in order to provide a well-founded explanation of the series of events prior to, during, and after the collision regarding the human, the vehicle, and the environment; this investigative technique is known as the 9-cell collision reconstruction matrix. Read More

WARREN Welcomes Senior Collision Reconstructionist Mark Turner, ACTAR

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Please join us in welcoming Senior Collision Reconstructionist Mark Turner, ACTAR, to the WARREN family!

Mark’s Areas of Expertise Include:

  • Tractor Trailer Accidents
  • Vehicle Collision Reconstruction
  • Crash Data Retrieval
  • Forensic Mapping Technology
  • Accident Reconstruction
  • 3D Scan Imaging and Animations

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Failure to Maintain Tow Hook Latch Results in Bystander Death

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An unfortunate and tragic case that we investigated involved a commercial “rollback” recovery truck that was being used to transport a four-wheel drive diesel pickup.  The diesel pickup was not in running order with its’ engine in the bed of the truck.  Consequently, a commercial towing company was hired by the truck owner to transport the truck.  In the process of loading the truck onto the rollback, the truck came uncoupled from the winch and cable system.  The truck then rolled down the inclined bed of the rollback, running over and killing a bystander. Read More

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