Event Data Recorders (EDRs) were first introduced by General Motors (GM) in 1974. That data was only available to GM; however, since 1994 more and more vehicle EDR’s have recorded data that can be gathered. The data captured can be imaged and is being used by vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement officers, and collision reconstructionists to better understand what is happening in a collision. In accident investigation, EDRs have the potential to provide independent measurements of crash data that would elsewise be estimated by reconstruction methodology.
A motorist exiting a rural freeway was struck by a motorist on the intersecting State Route at the top of the exit ramp. At the westbound exit ramp from the Interstate freeway the State Route a stop sign is posted at the end of the ramp requiring exiting traffic to stop before entering the State Route. However, the eastbound off ramp traffic is not required to stop before entering the State Route. A stop sign is posted on southbound State Route at the ramp terminal. This is an unusual traffic signing pattern for interstate off ramps. Expert observations of the operation of this intersection showed that a large proportion of the eastbound off ramp traffic slowed down at the end of the ramp, expecting to stop at the State Route.
Tree stand accidents occur frequently during hunting season, causing a variety of injuries from broken bones to paralysis and death. Tree stand accidents involve a variety of causes, including falls from the tree stand, collapse of the tree stand, fires, self inflicted gunshot wounds, and asphyxiation. A study by the Center for Disease Control examined hunting accidents from 1979-1989. 214 of 594 deer hunting related accidents involved tree stands. 52% of these tree stand accidents were due to falls from the stand, 32% were due to collapse of the tree stands.
This issue of Forensic Clues is the second installment of an examination of ladder accidents. Last month we explored stepladders, this month we will be discussing extension ladders. Ladder accidents are a very common occurrence. Over half a million people annually seek medical attention due to ladder accidents. Over three hundred people are killed yearly in these often preventable accidents. This is a serious problem.
Rock and ice climbing have become increasingly popular in recent years. Climbing is now a popular form of exercise and adventure, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately the greater numbers involved in the sport has led to greater number of accidents. Climbing gyms have brought climbing to areas without outdoor rock resources. These indoor gyms use artificial holds to simulate rock walls. Indoor climbing gyms typically have climbs ranging from twenty feet to fifty feet, or more. Bouldering areas are shorter in height, with adequate padding to protect climbers from falls without the need for ropes.
In the last installment (STN, Jun, 2007), I stressed the importance of distinguishing between an actual bus stop and the waiting area across the street from it in terms of safety. But the selection of the stop and waiting area also involves concerns for student security. Sometimes, there are trade-offs that must be made. These trade-off are often complex and subtle. But they must be made correctly.
Fishing and boating accidents result in thousands of injuries each year. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 3331 injuries and 709 fatalities due to boating accidents on both recreational and commercial vessels. There are many causes for these accidents, including collisions with objects or other vessels, drowning, electrical and mechanical failures, interaction with unguarded machinery, and others. There are various acts and laws that govern accidents at sea. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine some of the preventable accidents caused by defective machinery and equipment that occur at sea, and a brief overview of the laws and regulations affecting product liability litigation related to maritime accidents.
For those readers who remember Jayne Mansfield, or even know who she was, this is not a story about her Hollywood exploits or bedroom acrobatics. It is a story about a common type of accident - a rear-ender involving an automobile striking a truck or bus - often referred to, in accident reconstruction circles, as "the Jayne Mansfield syndrome."
The largest storage rack/ retrieval system, larger than two football fields and eighty feet wide was constructed to store 108 million pounds of paper products. On July, 2002, after two months of use, the facility collapsed and sparked a fire that destroyed the entire structure and 45 million pounds of paper. Nearly 50 fire departments responded to the inferno, which burned for three weeks. The owner of the facility sued a number of companies that included the contractor that designed and built the structure, a subcontractor, and the company that supplied the 110 foot steel columns.
A recent failure of a ski lift in Wisconsin has received much media attention. While accidents such as these are rare, they do occur. Much more frequent are accidents involving collisions with other people or objects. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine the types of accidents that occur on the mountains.