In Focus: Driver’s Impairment in Vehicular Accidents

Over the years, CED has been involved in hundreds of vehicle accident reconstructions.  In many cases experts on the other side of a vehicle case have arrived at erroneous conclusions because they failed to document and analyze all the important factors that are used in a reconstruction.  When CED’s Vehicle Crash Group receives a vehicular accident inquiry from a client, all the necessary parameters for a proper reconstruction are determined and analyzed.  These parameters include: vehicle type, vehicle damage, post impact movements and final resting places of vehicles, skids, “Black Box” data, etc.  During this time, CED engineers have learned that experts who rely on a few aspects of a vehicle accident often make erroneous conclusions that become disastrous in a court of law.  CED utilizes a methodology which gathers all of the information needed to fully document and analyze a vehicular accident so that a jury can make an informed decision on what occurred in any given accident.

Vision Impairment
Most people are unaware that nine states do not require some type of vision testing in order to obtain a driver’s license renewal.  CED has been involved in accidents where the driver was not wearing corrective eyewear or the corrective eyewear prescription was outdated.  Unbeknownst to the driver – they were driving partially blind or were unable to recognize important obstacles (pedestrians, bicycle riders, traffic lights).

Illumination
Everyone has had the experience of driving at night and knows that nighttime vision reduces our ability to perceive various objects.  Additionally, people are known to react slower to unexpected nighttime events. CED has been involved in many cases where human factors have played a significant role in a nighttime accident.  On numerous occasions, CED engineers have also conducted studies and tests used in night time driving accidents.  CED has found in some cases that the vehicle being used had plastic molding housing that covered the headlight bulb instead of the older headlights that were made of glass.  CED’s investigation determined that the plastic headlamp cover had deteriorated over time thereby creating a “fog” effect over the headlight bulb.  The “fog” effect reduced the illumination of the vehicle’s headlights below the level specified by the manufacturer.  This is why it is so important that an engineer inspect the accident vehicle in order to determine if headlight illumination intensity has played a role in an accident.

Environmental
CED engineers have found that environment can play an important role in a driver’s ability to drive safely and avoid being involved in an accident.  A wet or snowy roadway can result in unexpected and unusual vehicle movements.  Sun glare and roadway shadows from trees can result in a driver not seeing and/or misinterpreting an important driving parameter.  CED engineers have done several studies on the effect of sun glare reducing a driver’s ability to see an obstacle and react accordingly.  Other studies have considered the line-of-sight of a driver and the fact that trees, roadway signage and vegetation can create blind spots that result in serious accidents.

Today’s New Driver
With the onset of cell phones, IPads and other electronic devices, drivers are causing a whole new line of vehicle accidents.  CED engineers have been involved in cases where it was determined that there was no conceivable way that a driver should not have seen and reacted to a slow moving accident situation.  Further investigation of the accident showed that the driver had a long history of in-car cell phone use and that at the time of the accident the driver was retrieving, dialing and/or using a cell phone.  CED was involved in more than one case where a vehicle was struck in the rear at a traffic control signal.  Investigation showed no braking at all by the vehicle that caused the accident.  Through discovery, it was eventually admitted by the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident that texting was involved and/or a cell phone was being used or being answered. 

These are just a few of the areas of why it is important to retain an expert with experience and a trained eye to look for things that may have been a contributory factor.  CED has been providing such services through its Vehicle Crash Group for over 25 years and can help assist in a comprehensive accident reconstruction or product liability claim.