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How are the Police using Datron products to help with collision and accident investigations?

One of the most important activities of Road Policing occurs when there is a fatal or life-threatening road traffic collision on the network. In such instances, the Police are required to investigate the circumstances to the highest possible standard: a thorough investigation process is necessary to ensure that all the legal obligations are met, and that every last piece of evidence is efficiently gathered for any due criminal process that might follow. Generally the Police will have a limited time-frame in which to gather all the necessary evidence, as it is important to re-open the road network as soon as possible: however, there is a fine line to be drawn between re-opening carriageways for the convenience of the motorists, and ensuring that no piece of evidence is overlooked.

The Police use incident scene surveying equipment during collision investigations to collect comprehensive surveys of the scene, which can then be effectively used in all legal hearings, from Coroners and Criminal Courts to Civil Litigation Hearings. This equipment can help measure the angles between points using GPS; this data is then downloaded and converted into a scene diagram. GPS enabled equipment is especially useful as it is both quick to use and extremely accurate, thus avoiding the need for extensive road closures. Research has shown that the use of GPS at collision investigations can speed up survey times by as much as 5-6x.

GPS technology is constantly evolving: each innovation only serves to make crash and collision scene investigation ever more accurate. The VERICOM VC4000 are the latest range of GPS-enabled instruments to be adopted by the Police to aid its collision investigations. These instruments are used for measuring and recording deceleration, coefficient-of-friction and Skid-to-Stop testing. A total of 18 of the Police Forces in England, Wales and Ireland now use these instruments and more will no doubt follow.

The VERICOM instruments offer several advantages over more traditional skid testers and decelerometers that have previously been used by Police Collision Investigators (PCIs). Because VERICOM instruments have Dual and Tri-axis accelerometers built-in, they are able to measure not just the vehicle Skid-to Stop and Road Friction co-efficient, but also vehicle accelerations to set speeds, between set speeds and also over-time and over-distances which are set by the user. The feature-rich VERICOM incorporates many additional functions like forward and lateral acceleration measurement, instant viewing of the test results and a large data memory.

In addition to the standard braking and acceleration testing, some Police Forces are also using the VERICOM DAQ (Data AcQuisition) models to undertake more complex testing functions, such as Air and Hydraulic Brake pressure recording on HGVs and LGVs to determine the effectiveness of the braking system. Up to 12 additional sensors may be connected to VERICOM DAQ models to allow data to be recorded simultaneously with the braking parameters.

A unique feature of the VERICOM is its Run Duration Protocol (RDP) function. Many deceleration testers measure the deceleration from a typical minus 0.2G falling trigger point, through to a rising minus 0.2G stop point. Unfortunately this will not give wholly accurate test results as the measurement should stop when the vehicle speed is zero, not the minus 0.2G rising point. This can leave a considerable room for error in the calculation of deceleration, speed and distance, because the data used was inaccurate. By using the VERICOM with its RDP function, Police Collision Investigators can be confident that their test data is completely accurate; this is vitally important when the case proceeds to court.