Posts Tagged ‘accident reconstruction’

New invention flashes motorcycle brake lights

A motorcycle accident led a college student to a good idea, and now it’s gaining traction with investors and is targeted at the motorcycle industry as a whole.  The newly developed product is called GearBrake.  The module connects to the existing wiring of a motorcycle’s rear brake light and causes the brake light to flash when deceleration or engine braking is detected in order to give other drivers extra time to react in traffic. GearBrake’s invention recently beat out three other finalist companies in late November to win a Vogt Award, a $100,000 prize, that aims to spur new manufacturing-based businesses, create jobs and boost economic development.  It was the second win last month for GearBrake as they previously scored $5,000 at the Kentucky Angel Investors competition for new business. GearBrake plans to seek an endorsement from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and hope their light will become as standard on motorcycles as the rear windshield light is on car and pickup truck rear windshields.  GearBrake also plans to approach manufacturers to add the module as custom feature, and reached a deal recently with Janus to add the module as an upgrade on its bikes starting next year.

CPSC Proposes Stability Standards for UTV / ROV / SxS-vehicles

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Oct. 29 voted 3-2 to move forward on a proposed rule to impose a mandatory product standard for Recreational Off-Road Vehicles (ROVs) also known as Side-by-Side Vehicles (SSV) or Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV).  In its proposed rule titled: Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs), the CPSC proposed rules which would require ROVs to have:
  • Lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements that specify a minimum level of rollover resistance for ROVs and a requirement that ROVs exhibit sublimit understeer characteristics;
  • Occupant retention requirements that would limit the maximum speed of a ROV to no more than 15 mph unless driver and front passenger seatbelts are fastened, and
  • A passive barrier or structure to limit the ejection of a belted occupant in the event of a rollover.
The proposed rule is part of a process that was begun in 2009 out of concern over the volume of SSV injuries. As of April 5, 2013, CPSC staff knew of 550 reported SSV-related incidents that happened between Jan. 1, 2003, and April 5, 2013; there were 335 reported fatalities and 506 reported injuries related to those incidents. CPSC is relying, in part, on a 2009 repair program for Yamaha Rhino 450, 660, and 700 models to increase the vehicles’ lateral stability and change the handling.  Yamaha’s improvement program involved the addition of 50mm spacers on the vehicle’s rear wheels (to increase the track width), and the removal of the rear stabilizer bar (to induce understeer characteristics instead of oversteer). Following the change, CPSC cites a dramatic decrease in injuries and fatalities in the repaired Rhinos. “CPSC staff believes that a minimum requirement for rollover resistance of 0.70g threshold lateral acceleration, coupled with a requirement that a vehicle model’s rollover resistance is displayed on a hang tag at point of purchase, will increase the rollover resistance of the overall ROV market and will reduce the occurrence of ROV rollovers,” according to a staff report for the commission. “CPSC staff also believes a vehicle handling requirement for understeer will reduce the occurrence of rollovers caused by sudden increases in lateral acceleration associated with ROVs that oversteer. Prevention of ROV rollovers will reduce deaths and injuries associated with ROV rollover events.”  On a per-unit basis, CPSC estimates the total cost of the proposed rule would be $61 to $94 per vehicle. In opposition to the rule proposal, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Americans for Responsible Recreation Access (ARRA) are urging industry professional to push back against the proposal.  The organizations argue that if approved the proposal, “would limit the ability of ROV manufacturers to design vehicles to safely provide the level of performance that is expected by OHV enthusiasts,” the MIC continued. “Page 131 of the CPSC’s briefing package emphasizes the proposed rule’s fundamental weakness: ‘Although the Commission believes that the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements will reduce the number of deaths and injuries involving ROVs, it is not possible to quantify this benefit because we do not have sufficient data to estimate the injury rates of models that already meet the requirements and models that do not meet the requirements. Thus we cannot estimate the potential effectiveness of the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements in preventing injuries.'”   Veritech Engineering has specific specialty in the investigation, analysis and reconstruction of ROV, UTV and ATV related accidents.  Additionally, our Powersports expert, Mark Kittel, P.E., has industry experience in the product development and testing of ATV’s and UTV’s.

NTSB Recommends “Hands-Free” Ban for Truckers

On May 28, 2013 a Mack truck hauling debris to a local recycling center pulled into the path of an oncoming moving train shortly before 2 p.m. The resulting collision caused 15 cars in the 45-car train to derail, including three carrying hazardous waste.  The final conclusions of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board shows that the driver of the truck had failed to stop at the crossing despite repeated horn blasts from the locomotive. The NTSB cited several causative or contributing factors including: The driver had failed to disclose to federal regulators that he suffered from “severe, untreated obstructive sleep apnea” which likely affected his alertness. The driver’s employer had a poor safety record.  And the sight distance at the crossing was diminished, in part, by vegetative growth that needed to be trimmed back. There was another important factor; at the time of the crash the driver had been engaged in a conversation on his cell phone. Although he was using it in a “hands-free” mode, investigators concluded that the phone had been a distraction. Based on that finding, as well as other crash investigations, the NTSB has recommended that truck drivers not be allowed to use hands-free portable electronic devices while operating a vehicle except in an emergency. In further support of NTSB’s recommendation, several recent studies have concluded that hands-free cellular operation does not reduce the frequency of accidents.  Distracted driving continues to be a problem. While commercial vehicle operators are hardly alone in this, accidents involving tractor-trailers are far more likely to be deadly than those involving other types of vehicles — that’s just the physics of 80,000-pounds of rolling metal versus a two-ton car.

Checkpoints are Cost-Effective Deterrents to DUI

DUI/Drivers License checkpoints have been shown to lower DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints are the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged impaired, bringing about more awareness and encouraging everyone to use sober designated drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Ninety Percent of California drivers approve of checkpoints. As a result of this information many local law enforcement agencies are implementing  DUI checkpoints in an effort to reduce and deter DUI driving.  Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public. As an example,  the San Bernardino Police Department Traffic Unit conducted a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint on 10-24-14, in the 400 block of E. 9th Street in San Bernardino between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.  During this checkpoint there were:
  • 307 Vehicles Screened
  • 6 DUI-Alcohol suspects arrested
  • 2 arrests for warrants
  • 14 Drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended/revoked
  • 13 Citations issued for non-DUI charges
  • 18 Vehicles impounded
San Bernardino PD will be conducting another DUI saturation patrol on Friday, November 14th, 2014 in our ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon our streets and highways.  The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bosch Releases Software Update14.1.1

On October 27, 2014 Bosch Diagnostics announced the release of CDR software patch 14.1.1.  Changes for CDR version 14.1.1 include:  BMW / MINI
  • For MY2014/2015 Hardtop MINI and 2015 BMW i3 and i8, extended the timeout for imaging data from the ACM to 15 minutes per recorded EDR event. For these vehicles, it can take as long as 90 minutes to retrieve EDR data from all 6 recorded event records
 Ford / Lincoln
  • Added support for MY2015 Ford Fusion ACM part number ES7T-14B321-AA
  • Fixed issue where CDR would only print part of the CDR report for certain ACMs
Nissan / Infiniti
  • Added support for MY2015 Nissan Titan and Infiniti Q50 vehicles
  The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1996.  To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List. Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions.  Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story.  Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident.  Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information.  Click on the following link for more information on “black box” technology.

All-New Chrysler 200 Earns NHTSA 5-Star Rating

According to a recent Chrysler press release, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 has earned a five-star overall safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the highest possible safety rating given by NHTSA. The Chrysler brand’s all-new midsize sedan scored five stars in NHTSA tests that evaluate performance in frontal collisions, side-impacts simulating a two-vehicle collision, and side-impacts simulating a single-vehicle collision with a pole.  These latest test results complement the Top Safety Pick+ rating previously given to the 2015 Chrysler 200 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 also achieved a four star rating in NHTSA’s rollover resistance evaluation, which is calculated using vehicle dimensions. This result contributed to the car’s overall five-star rating. NHTSA is the only safety agency that evaluates rollover resistance. Scott Kunselman, Chrysler Group’s Senior Vice President and Head of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance. says “The Chrysler 200’s superior performance in such safety tests validates our continuing efforts to deliver the latest advancements in both passive and active safety technologies,”  Among the active safety systems available on the 2015 Chrysler 200 is Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus. It combines camera and radar technologies, which is a first for a mainstream-brand mid-size sedan.  Such redundancy affords greater object-detection precision.  Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus provides alerts, autonomous braking and, under certain circumstances, slows or brings the all-new Chrysler 200 to a full stop when a frontal collision appears imminent.  NHTSA’s safety ratings web page awards special designations to vehicles equipped with active safety systems, though the systems do not factor into the ratings. Collision-warning systems are a prerequisite to achieve IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status. Approximately 65 percent of the all-new Chrysler 200’s body structure consists of hot-stamped, high-strength, advanced high-strength and boron steels. Such construction helps maintain the vehicle’s integrity during collisions.  Kunselman goes on to say that “The 200’s robust construction helps absorb energy in the event of a collision which benefits occupant protection.” The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 boasts 60 safety and security features – the most in its class. Among these is the segment-exclusive Electronic Park Brake (EPB) with SafeHold.  Offered as standard equipment, EPB with SafeHold automatically activates the 200’s parking brake if the driver’s seatbelt is unlatched and his or her door is opened while forward or reverse gears are engaged. This feature is designed to prevent rollaway situations.  Other standard and available features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), electronic roll mitigation, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, ParkSense rear backup sensors, ParkView rear backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection and LATCH child seat anchors. The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is designed, engineered and built with pride at Chrysler Group’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. Chrysler Group invested more than $1 billion in facility upgrades to produce the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, including an all-new paint shop and a new, fully robotic body shop.

Motorcycle Deaths and Injuries on the Rise

An insurance industry study reports that the average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan. What accounts for such a dramatic rise? The state passed a law no longer requiring all riders to wear motorcycle helmets. And many motorists took advantage of their new freedom, hitting the road sans helmet. Across the nation, motorcyclists opposed to mandatory helmet use have been chipping away at state helmet laws for years while crash deaths have been on the rise. According to the study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute, the average insurance payout for a motorcycle injury claim was approximately $5,410 the two years prior to the law being changed, when helmets were mandatory for all riders. After the new law went into effect, the average payment rose to $7,257— a 34 percent jump. The Highway Loss Data Institute is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the losses sustained from crashes on the nation’s roads. This includes personal and property losses. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) supports this mission through scientific studies of insurance data and by publishing insurance loss results. According to HLDI’s chief research officer David Zuby, “The cost per injury claim is significantly higher after the law changed than before, which is consistent with other research that shows riding without a helmet leads to more head injuries.” This particular study is the first one to take a specific look at the consequences repealing helmet laws have on the severity of injuries as measured by medical insurance claims. Although some states have set minimum medical insurance requirements for motorcyclists, “that doesn’t even come close to covering the lifelong care of somebody who is severely brain-injured and who cannot work and who is going to be on Medicaid and a ward of the state,” according to Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Giving an opposing opinion, Vince Consiglio of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Michigan, claimed bikers not taking the required safety courses was the real cause of the increase in injuries. According to Consiglio, bikers without motorcycle licenses make up an increasing share of fatalities and injuries. Nationwide, motorcycle fatalities are on the rise, even as many states are weakening or repealing helmet laws. The fatality rate for riders has gone up for 14 of the past 15 years. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported 5,000 deaths in 2012—14 percent of overall traffic deaths for that year.

Bell Helmets Boosts Impact Protection

Bell Helmets is launching an important first for the company this month with the addition of the Moto-9 Flex, an offroad helmet with a new approach to impact protection.  The company is using what it calls “progressive layering technology” in the Moto-9 Flex liner to manage high-, medium- and low-speed impacts, as well as rotational impacts. The system incorporates three protective materials, each designed to address specific impact velocities.  Bell has discovered Expanded Polyolefin (EPO), which works in tandem with the often used Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) layering systems. EPO is a soft and flexible low-density polymer that, when placed between the EPP and EPS layers, dampens low-threshold impacts.  Bell has addressed rotational energy management by engineering a “slip zone” within the liner which allows for subtle movement between the inner layers in an effort to reduce rotational energy transfer from angular impacts. There are two different types of forces at play whenever an impact occurs:
  1. A LINEAR FORCE, which is caused by a straight and direct impact (such as when a ball hits a wall without rotating); it consists firstly of blunt compression (the hit) and then a reaction (the bounce) causing direct injury to the point of impact and potential further injuries following a straight line into the brain.
  2. A ROTATIONAL FORCE is slightly oblique and causes the head to rotate around its point of articulation at the top of the spine as it is hit.
Rotational head injury is startlingly common, but often under-recognized as a threat.  It is the principal cause of brain injury from motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents.  It happens because the head rotates around its point of articulation, which is the neck. This causes the brain to rotate within the skull tearing the veins and causing bleeding which results in a subdural hematoma.  Because the head is not perfectly round, the brain not only spins as a whole but some parts within it spin at different rates. This sets up additional shear forces inside the brain itself. This stress within the brain results in the tearing of nerve fibers and tiny veins within the brain.  This is called Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). “We’ve seen so much attention and discussion being given to specific impact scenarios, and that concerned us, because off-road motorcycling can be completely unpredictable. A proper helmet needs to protect the rider in the widest array of situations they might encounter,” said Chris Sackett, Bell Helmets vice president.