In the analysis of vehicle accidents, one of the most important sources of insight is the physical evidence left behind in the form of vehicle deformation, often referred to as “crush”. The amount and location of the damage to the vehicles exterior and interior provide the reconstruction expert with detailed data regarding the energy expended in the collision. This in turn can be used to calculate speeds at impact. When combined with braking evidence, critical data such as speed and location at onset of braking and when a hazard was first recognized can be determined.
The challenge in using this rich source of information is in how to measure the crush. Vehicles that have been involved in high speed impacts often have an irregular damage pattern due to the differential force applied during the impact and varying stiffness values of the affected parts of the vehicle. This issue is further compounded by the need for crush measurements at multiple locations and potentially multiple heights on the vehicle.
As with all analysis techniques that rely on known factors and equations, error in the input measurements result in errors in the conclusions.
At PSI, we believe in minimizing error at each step of analysis – Measurement, not Conjecture.