Heavy and Articulated Vehicles
When it comes to heavy vehicle accidents (those situations involving tractor/trailers, buses and straight trucks, for example), the “typical” investigative and calculation methodology that one might use for passenger vehicles is often inappropriate. Situations involving heavy trucks are distinguished from their light, passenger vehicle counterparts by virtue of their sheer size (volume and mass), different handling characteristics, suspension effects, and vast differences in braking. Detailed knowledge of air brakes systems, rollover dynamics and acceleration capabilities for any power-to-weight ratio truck is required in order to understand how an incident involving a vehicle of such nature occurs. At Forensic Dynamics, we have participated in rollover tests, tests involved with skidding tractor/trailers on their sides in order to understand the coefficient of friction, and research associated with out-of-adjustment brakes. Specific simulation software is available to determine how a tractor/trailer unit, for example, will “off-track” in order to determine how such a vehicle can be navigated through a curve.
When the Province of British Columbia decided to change the laws with respect to the requirements of log truck operators, they turned to Forensic Dynamics for a detailed specific study on the coupling of a log truck with a log pole trailer. Given that our preferred market is the western United States and Canada, we have extensive experience working in the Rocky Mountain states, which are notorious for truck rollovers and truck braking incidents.
We also have the capability of downloading and interpreting “black box” data, and other satellite-based data from these units, in order to determine vehicle parameters in the seconds leading up to the crash, and also, what the driver was doing in the hours prior. By interpolating the distance covered for the route and the time provided by the satellite positioning data, an estimation for how fast the driver of the unit traveled can be revealed.
When it comes to load securement, Forensic Dynamics is the undisputed expert in this area, and a leading edge firm in research and development. One of our principals holds several patents with respect to an automatic load securement system, which uses air pressure to automatically and autonomously tension load straps (see www.innovexeng.com and “Cinch”).