Five things you might never have known about road accidents

Something New Every Day – Lecture 16 – Vehicular Accident Forensics

  • There are 250 million registered vehicles in the USA
  • Statistically, city streets are safer (by far) than country roads, but this is the combined effect of lower driving speeds due to congestion and increased traffic control in cities, and the greater distances to hospital for country areas on fatalities.
  • Economic losses from motor vehicle accidents are US$200 billion a year and 33% of those are accidents involving alcohol.
  • In MVAs, drivers will typically under-represent own speed and over-represent other speed but that’s not necessarily attempts to be duplicitous, can be the distorted perception of reality.
  • Equipment failure is a very small cause of vehicular accidents
    • 48% – collision with another vehicle
    • 26% – collision with fixed objects
    • 12% – pedestrian impact
    • 11% – ‘non collision’ impacts
    • 2% – collision with non motorised vehicles
    • 1% – collision with train
    • 0.2% – collision with animal

‘Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works” is a The Great Courses DVD lecture series