If you see it coming, time probably seems to stand still while you wait for the impact. No matter how short a time span it is, it may feel like it takes forever. When all motion stops and the crash is over, you may be left wondering, “What just happened and how did my car end up here?” After some recent training, two officers in our Traffic Safety Unit may be able to answer those questions for you.
The last two weeks of June Officer Andy Black and Officer Michelle Koos attended Accident Reconstruction Training at the Kansas Highway Patrol training facility in Salina, Kansas. The training was sponsored by the KHP and put on by the Institute of Police Technology and Management.
Officer Black and Officer Koos join four other reconstruction trained members of the Traffic Safety Unit. This team, through figures such as angles of approach and departure or the rise or fall of an airborne vehicle can determine things like the speed at impact or the location of a vehicle seconds before impact. To calculate these answers they must obtain specifics related to the crash scene like measurements of the scene, final rest of the vehicles and coefficient of friction for the roadway.
When I spoke with Officer Koos about the training she explained reconstruction is about Newton’s Laws of Motion. Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and physics provide answers to many of the questions during their accident investigations. She added, “I wish I would have listened to my geometry teacher, Mr. Heck, when he said, ‘Pay attention, you may need this someday.’”
Here is an example of one of the basic equations they use:
Speed = (2.73*D )/(Cosθ√(±H ±(D*m)))