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Accident Investigators & Reconstructionist


Accident Investigators & Reconstructionist

Members: 64
Latest Activity: Jan 11

Discussion Forum

Drag Sleds

Started by David Aguirre May 12, 2010.

Reconstruction Report Formats 1 Reply

Started by Mike Sorensen. Last reply by Chad Slovick Jan 31, 2010.

Comment Wall

Comment by Mike Sorensen on July 30, 2009 at 11:51am
Hello All!

I just joined the group. We just got our Crash Reconstruction Team off the ground about a year ago. We're still getting used to the Sokkia Total Stations and the Visual Statement software that we bought. I was just wondering what equipment/software everyone else is using. Thanks in advance.
Comment by Brian A. Schroer on August 25, 2009 at 10:07pm
Hi Mike. Our department is assembling a crash reconstruction team and put me, somewhat, in charge of putting the pieces together. Does your team involve other agencies? I'd like to pick your brain and discuss how your procedures work for you as this task has been assigned to me to get our team rolling. Our team will include members from several agencies within our county. I am looking for input on call-out procedures and anything else you have to offer.
Comment by J.D. "Mac" on August 26, 2009 at 9:27am
Hey guys, we have had our team up and running for some time now. I have been a member of our traffic unit now 5 years. We do not use a total station; instead we have followed FHP's lead and went with Photogram try system. It works well, and you end up with an abundance of photographs of the scene. As far as software, we are using crash zone. I currently have version 7.5, but I am working on getting that upgraded to the newest version.
Our call-out procedure is pretty straight forward, we have 2 man teams on call at all times. Brian, feel free to email me ( and I will gladly give you the details on how we work it out.
We are a county Sheriff's Office, and we assist FHP, but also the city PD's in our county, there are no members from outside agencies on our team.
Comment by Mike Sorensen on August 26, 2009 at 10:16am
Brian and JD,

We've had a Crash Reconstruction Team for some time now, we just didn't come into the funds to make the jump from the 19th century (tape measures and lumber crayons) to the 21st century (software, total stations, accelerometers) until last year. I'm the Assistant Team Leader - South for the VSP CRT. I did a bunch of research, contacting most of the SP organizations east of the Mississippi last summer to see what everyone was using for hardware. We settled on Visual Statement software (FX3) and Sokkia 530R Total Stations with the Trimble Nomad Data Collector/Accelerometer (uses mFx software to control the TS). So far we have had good luck with our equipment and software. It's pricier than Crash Zone and Map Scenes, but we're a part time team - meaning we're all Troopers or Sergeants who go when the call comes in. This is one of the reasons we went with Visual Statement - much lower learning curve vs. CZ and MS software. We've got a total of 11 members on the team statewide at present, broken up North/South. The team is a 'special team' in VSP, so all of the members are from our organization however we provide services to county and municipal agencies as well. As for call outs, we're pretty much on call all of the time. Per our mission, at present, we respond to all requests for team services with regard to serious bodily injury and fatal crashes, however one of our caveats (to limit the number of calls we respond to) is that the surviving, at fault operator may face criminal charges. In other words, if a drunk crashes into a tree and kills himself we typically don't respond unless there's a special circumstance. We also respond to assist with the forensic mapping of scenes for our BCI (detectives - major crime scenes). As for call outs, we send two team members to each scene, although we're thinking about increasing it to 3 members due to the amount of work necessary to thoroughly document a scene, vehicle damage, etc. The investigating officer/Trooper retains the responsibility for completing the Uniform Crash Report - however we do provide a rather in depth supplemental report. Our team leader and/or one of the asst. team leaders field the initial request for services and make a decision as to what, if any resources, are deployed.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail at

Comment by Michael Neville on September 9, 2009 at 10:07pm
Just got started being trained on our new Leica ScanStation Laser. It is supposed to be the first in Alabama. It is part of our Region 6 Homeland Security truck response gear for our area. It is available to all in Region 6 which is most of north Alabama. Total Station is great but is like writing on a cave wall with coal compared to the new ScanStation! If you have a Homeland Security person in your area you need to check into if you can get one on grant and / or if you already have one in the area that is available for use. It works excellent for crime scenes as well. Just a thought....
Comment by Mike Sorensen on September 13, 2009 at 11:28am
Michael - thanks for the info! Looks like awesome equipment, but I just looked up the price for one of these things - the Leica 2 is about $65K and the Leica C10 is about $102K per unit. Seeing as we just joined the 21st century with total stations and software, we'll probably have to wait until the next one to get this stuff. Enjoy it! I'm envious.
Comment by Michael Neville on September 14, 2009 at 5:08pm
We are in the same boat....just using the one assigned to our Region 6 Homeland Security response truck....otherwise we are too little of an agency to ever afford the I understand it the complete system with the laptop, program etc. is closer in the neighborhood of $150 - 200 grand.
Comment by Eric Naugle on December 2, 2009 at 10:51am
We use the Nikon NPL-332 Total Station with an onboard data collector, and Crash Zone, and Auto Cad Software. The AIMS version of Crash Zone allows us to download the total station directly to the software program. We usually work in two man teans for call outs, and take call on a monthly cycle. We started out using the CDR tool for airbag downloads, however the constant updates, and hardware upgrades became too expensive and cumbersome.
Comment by David Aguirre on May 13, 2010 at 8:30am
Here is an opportunity for all of you crash guys to chime in. There are a multitude of arguments for and against the use of drag sleds, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus. I'd like to get comments from those of you that use one on a regular basis as part of your investigations. Tell me if you've had issues in court, and if you have, what was/were the issue(s) and how were you able to overcome them. On a personal note, as far as I'm concerned, as long as you follow "the rules," i.e., pulls parallel to the surface, pull through the device's center of mass and achieve constant motion and at least 5 pulls to get any 2 within 5% of each other, the drag sled is relatively reliable. Give me some input.


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