The Bloomington Herald Times Online reports that a serious car crash occurred this morning at the intersection of S.R. 37 and Victor Pike. Both the the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Bloomington Police Department are investigating the accident which injured at least four people, including two children. As always, our thoughts are with those who were injured in this collision, and we wish them all a speedy recovery.
Accident reconstructionists from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Bloomington Police are on the scene investigating the two-vehicle crash.
I find it interesting that this crash is being investigated by accident reconstruction experts, only because reconstructionists are not used in most car accidents. An accident reconstruction expert is someone, usually a law enforcement officer, who has undergone extensive additional training in the area vehicle crash investigations. Their training focuses on all the factors involved in vehicular crashes, including speeds of vehicles, the type of road surface, weather conditions, vehicular crush damage, etc.
Accident reconstructionists will gather all kinds of information from the crash site, including information regarding the vehicle debre pattern, gouge marks in the roadway, length of skid marks, witness statements, and then write a report that literally "reconstructs" the events leading up to the collision and assess who is at fault for the accident.
The field of accident reconstruction relies on scientific principals, not just on eye witness memory of what happened. Good accident reconstructionists have a strong working knowledge of physics, including co-efficients of friction between tire tread and road surfaces, the weights of various vehicles and how that relates to the stopping speed of a vehicle, as well as the force created by the impact of one vehicle upon another vehicle. It comes as no surprise that some of the best accident reconstruction experts have backgrounds in both law enforcement and engineering. Because of this extensive training, most law enforcement departments only have one or two officers trained in accident reconstruction. Many smaller departments don’t have any certified accident reconstructionists on staff, and have to call upon the Indiana State Police to provide one if there is a accident involving serious injury or death.