LARGE-SCALE FIRES – HOW TO EVALUATE THE DAMAGE

Fire damage to a structure can adversely affect some building elements while leaving others intact, functional, or repairable. An inspection and analysis of an existing building structure can determine the extent of damage and of salvageable portions of the building. Prior to such an inspection, an evaluation of the structure and utilities should be made. A civil, structural or mechanical engineer can contribute to such an evaluation. Depending on the results, it can be determined if the building is safe to enter, needs localized structural shoring and underpinning to allow safe entry, needs electrical abatement, or if it should be…..

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FROZEN PIPE LOSS – WHY IT HAPPENS AND WHAT INVESTIGATORS LOOK FOR

With winter just around the corner, you may want to read what ARCCA Expert Peter Chen says about one of the leading sources of residential and commercial water losses – frozen pipes. His latest article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Subrogator Magazine.

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ARCCA EXPERT ANDY RENTSCHLER WILL BE AT THE NSPII INSURANCE FRAUD SHOW

If you’re attending the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators Conference (Nov. 6-7) at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris in Columbus, OH, stop by our Booth to meet Dr. Andy Rentschler.   Andy is a Senior Biomechanist at ARCCA specializing in the study of the forces and mechanics associated with injuries to the human body.  He has conducted studies to evaluate the kinematics and biomechanics of the human body during various events and circumstances and has participated in the development and testing of seating and restraint systems with both anthropomorphic test devices and human subjects.

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ARCCA EXPERTS ARE PRESENTING AT THE NASP ANNUAL MEETING!

If you’re attending NASP (Nov. 5-8 in Austin, Texas), you won’t want to miss our speakers’ presentations:

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ATTENDING NJSIA NEXT WEEK? DON’T MISS OUR PRESENTATION ON VEHICLE SYSTEMS FORENSICS

SHAWN HARRINGTON, one of ARCCA’s premier experts, will present on that topic on Tuesday, Oct. 17th, at the NJSIA Annual Fraud Conference at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City (11:10am to 12:10pm in Avalon 8-9 Room, 2nd Floor). Integrated Telematics and Infotainment Systems can act as a secondary “black box”, storing information a typical Event Data Recorder (EDR/Black Box) will not record. This can include months or years of navigation data from your GPS, SMS messaging data from a phone (if paired wirelessly through Bluetooth or through a wired USB connection); what phone number and device were paired to the vehicle…..

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HAVE A QUESTIONABLE SLIP, TRIP OR FALL CLAIM? YOU NEED A BIOMECHANICAL EXPERT

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over eight million hospital emergency room visits per year and are the leading cause of visits.  But how do you know if the injuries claimed could have actually resulted from that STF event? In his most recent article in the Fall issue of SIU Today Magazine, ARCCA Expert Dr. Andy Rentschler explains how biomechanists can provide different avenues of investigation to help determine how or if a fall event actually happened and what the subsequent injuries truly are.

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DON’T MISS OUR PRESENTATIONS AT SCFIA!

If you are attending the Southern California Fraud Investigators’ Association Conference in Palm Springs from Oct. 3-5, be sure to catch the following presentations by three of ARCCA’s premier experts: JAMES MASON, Ph.D. and BRENDAN MORSE, MSBME Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 – 8:00 am to 10:00 am “Vehicle Telematics & Infotainment Systems — a New Era of Data Collection” Connected while driving? You’d be surprised at the data your vehicle is storing. A new look into the actions of vehicle performance & driver interaction with the digital world.

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DO YOU KNOW WHAT CAUSES LITHIUM ION BATTERIES TO CATCH FIRE?

Find out by reading Expert Michael Stichter’s latest article in the August 2017 issue of CLM Magazine. We’ve all heard about cell phones, hoverboards, e-cigarettes and cordless power tools (among other devices) that have caught on fire whether they were in use or not.  Dr. Stichter talks about the different types of lithium ion battery fires and what investigators look for when determining the cause.

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Mechanical failure claims

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INVESTIGATING MECHANICAL FAILURE CLAIMS?

Expert James Mason, Ph.D., P.E., will be presenting on that topic at the 2017 Claims Conference of Northern California taking place at the McClellan Conference Center in McClellan Park, CA. Friday, Sept. 15 from 9AM to 10AM in the Lincoln Conf. Room

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Shawn Harrington

MEET SHAWN HARRINGTON IN NEW ORLEANS ON SEPT. 11TH!

One of ARCCA’s premier experts, Shawn Harrington, BSESM, will be presenting at the IASIU Annual Meeting to be held Sept. 10-12 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans.  While he’s there, he’d be pleased to meet you to discuss how he can help with your next case.  

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Staged Auto Accident

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF AN AUTO ACCIDENT WAS STAGED?

ARCCA Accident Reconstruction Expert Bill Brem answers that question in his latest article, which appears in the Summer issue of SIU Today Magazine.  When claim losses just don’t add up, an accident reconstructionist can help determine whether any damages claimed could have actually occurred as reported or whether they are staged. Bill provides a case study example and photos in his article, detailing how he discovered a fraudulent claim in one of his recent investigations.

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Airbag failure claim

HAVE AN AIRBAG FAILURE CLAIM?

If so, you won’t want to miss the article by Alan Cantor and Lou D’Aulerio of ARCCA which appears in the June 2017 issue of CLM Magazine concerning the Takata airbag recall. In this article, they discuss the issues involved with the recall and the implications, from an insurance perspective, when evaluating individual incidents.    

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glass construction defects

WHAT EXPERTS LOOK FOR WHEN INVESTIGATING GLASS CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS

Since the beginning of the 20th century, glass has found many uses in construction, from windows, to facades, to load-bearing structures.  In all applications, construction defects can result from the use of glass.  In an article just published in the Spring/Summer issue of NASP’s Subrogator Magazine, Dr. James Mason of ARCCA, talks about the most common glass defects and why you need an expert with specific knowledge of glass when investigating construction defect cases or claims.

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WE’LL BE AT THE FOLLOWING SHOWS IN JULY AND AUGUST – STOP BY!

Pennsylvania Defense Institute Annual Meeting July 12-14 – Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford Springs, PA Stop by our Booth Dr. Andy Rentschler’s presents on “Biomechanical Modeling” at 8:45am to 10:00am on July 14th CLM Upstate New York Chapter Event July 12 – USS Little Rock, Buffalo, NY Sponsor Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Annual Meeting July 13-16 – The Westin, Whistler, British Columbia Stop by our Booth AAJ Annual Meeting July 22-25 – Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA Stop by our Booth #306  WCI – Workers Compensation Conference August 6-9 – Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL Sponsor CLM Seattle Chapter Event…..

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MEET EXPERT ANDY RENTSCHLER AT PDI’s ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON JULY 14TH!

ARCCA Expert, Dr. Andy Rentschler, will be attending the Pennsylvania Defense Institute’s Annual Conference at the Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford Springs, PA, on July 14th and will be presenting on the topic, “Biomechanical Modeling”.  His talk will cover the various methods and software available to perform a proper biomechanical injury causation analysis. Biomechanists utilize an array of software and programs to help model and explain an individual’s kinematics and biomechanical response to a particular accident or event. Andy will discuss the current technologies available to experts and attorneys, from analyzing the event to presenting the findings in court. You won’t…..

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MACHINE GUARDING

“Machine Guarding” is the engineered control of hazardous energy during the normal operation of a machine. The requirements for proper machine guarding can be found under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.212, General Requirements for All Machines, as well as in industry specific regulations like OSHA 29 CFR 1917 relating to marine terminal operations and equipment. Recently, ARCCA’s engineers were asked to evaluate several different cases of machine guarding from several different industries. In each of the cases, it appeared that the machine guard was either not interlocked, or it was, but the interlock was defeated. For a machine in the proximity…..

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ARCCA EXPERT TO PRESENT WEBINAR ON “SUBROGATION OF EQUIPMENT ACCIDENT AND INDUSTRIAL CLAIMS”

Workers are injured on the job every day. Too often subrogation potential is dismissed due to perceived problems involving the claimant’s own role in the accident. On Tuesday, June 27th, at 1:00 pm EST, Daniel McDonough, P.E., ACTAR,  a mechanical engineering expert and accident reconstructionist at ARCCA, will join with Christopher Deegan, Esq. to present the legal and technical aspects of evaluating an equipment accident claim, including legal theories of liability, notice, and evidentiary issues; the investigative and forensic engineering process; safety theory; and case studies. Strategies for successful case response and recovery will be discussed. Learn how to make decisions re…..

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IT’S WARM OUT THERE – JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE THIS SUMMER!

An average of 37 children die each year because they’re left, usually accidentally, in a car. Don’t think it can’t happen to you – that’s what virtually all of the parents of child victims thought too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety advocates have issued the following facts and safety tips regarding child heatstroke deaths: Some key facts about heatstroke: Heatstroke is the leading cause of passenger vehicle non-crash fatalities for children 14 and younger. From 1998-2015, 661 children died due to heatstroke from being “forgotten” by a parent/caregiver; from the child playing in an unattended…..

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WE’LL BE AT THE FOLLOWING SHOWS IN JUNE – STOP BY!

  Do you connect your phone to your vehicle via Bluetooth or use GPS?  You’d be surprised at the data your vehicle is storing about you.  Don’t miss ARCCA Expert Shawn Harrington’s presentations regarding the latest in vehicle data retrieval (see below):   New England IASIU June 6-7  –  Holiday Inn, Boxborough, MA Stop by our Booth Shawn Harrington’s presention on Vehicle Infotainment and Telematic Systems – June 7 from 10:45 am to 12 noon. FIFEC Annual Meeting June 7-9  –  Caribe Royal Hotel, Orlando, FL Stop by our Booth #22  Shawn Harrington’s presention on Vehicle Infotainment and Telematic Systems…..

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MATERIAL FAILURES – THE ROLE OF FRACTOGRAPHY IN DETERMINING THE CAUSE

Just as cartography describes the study of maps, fractography describes the study of fracture surfaces. Many times, fractography is used to determine the cause of a failure. While it may seem a little like tea-leaf reading, fractography is a well-established science going back hundreds of years. Some of the first scientists to break materials in a laboratory reported the appearance of the fracture surfaces in addition to forces measured. It can be likened to the practice of medicine. While many patients may have the same disease, that disease may present itself differently in each patient. Likewise, while many materials may…..

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MEET EXPERT SHAWN HARRINGTON IN CHICAGO ON MAY 24TH!

One of ARCCA’s premier experts, Shawn Harrington, BSESM, will be attending DRI’s Outsmarting the Trucking Reptile at Trial Seminar on May 24th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago. While he’s there, he’d be pleased to meet you to discuss how he can help with your next case. Shawn is accredited as a Traffic Accident Reconstructionist by ACTAR, has a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and operates and inspects Heavy Trucks. In addition, he is certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to Access and Interpret Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders in commercial vehicles and is certified as a Crash Data…..

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WANT TO TRAVEL FROM LOS ANGELES TO SAN FRANCISCO IN 35 MINUTES? IT COULD BECOME A REALITY

In August of 2013, Elon Musk, the innovative CEO of SpaceX, introduced an idea that has come to be known as Hyperloop. The Hyperloop is, as SpaceX would describe it, the fifth major mode of transportation – a high-speed underground passenger pod. Since its inception, the Hyperloop project has been open-source, bringing together the minds of the private sector, as well as university students, with the hopes of creating the best-designed pod possible. SpaceX has provided enough information to the public that anyone can contribute to the project, drawing enormous interest in the scientific community. The ultimate goal for the…..

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STOP BY AND SEE US AT THE FOLLOWING SHOWS!

ARCCA Reps and Experts will be on hand at each venue and look forward to meeting you. BOOTH 1739 – April 23-26 RIMS Annual Conference – Philadelphia Convention Center   BOOTH 1001 – April 27-28 NJAJ Boardwalk Conference – Harrah’s Resort – Atlantic City   BOOTH 1 – April 27-28 NASP Subrogation Litgation: Skills & Management Conference Omni Montelucia Resort – Paradise Valley, Arizona Learn more about how we can help with your next case or claim and, while you’re there, enter to win an AMEX giftcard! Hope to see you!

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MEET ANGELA DiDOMENICO – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

ANGELA DiDOMENICO, PhD Dr. DiDomenico is a Senior Biomechanist and Certified Professional Ergonomist at ARCCA specializing in the study of human factors, forces and mechanics associated with human injury. In addition to her work related to slips and falls, Angela has extensive experience related to construction safety (including the New York Labor Laws), distracted walking, gait analysis, slip resistance testing, assessment of physical and mental workload, and effects of dual-tasking on performance. She is also involved in accident and mishap investigation involving workplace injuries, ladder safety, falls from scaffolding and the biomechanics of injury. Her work includes site and equipment…..

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AS VEHICLES INCREASINGLY RELY ON COMPUTERS, HACKERS HAVE FOUND WAYS TO CONTROL THEM – REMOTELY

While you may not remember the names, Dr. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, you may recall what they did in 2015. They were the two researchers who exposed the cyber-security holes in the FCA/Chrysler connectivity system that left their vehicles vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Miller and Valasek famously conducted a test whereby they hacked into a Jeep’s system and took command of many of the vehicle’s controls – remotely – while it was traveling down a freeway. (The full story is definitely worth reading – click here)  In further tests, by hacking remotely they could disable or slam on a victim’s brakes,…..

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LADDER FALLS CAUSE MORE THAN 500,000+ INJURIES A YEAR IN THE U.S.

Did you know that every 2 days, on average, work-related ladder falls result in 1 death and more than 180 injuries, resulting in $24 billion a year in related costs, including work loss and expenses for medical, legal, liability, and pain/suffering, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Angela DiDomenico, Senior Biomechanist at ARCCA, was interviewed recently for an article on Ladder Safety that appeared in the March 13, 2017 issue of the BLR (Business and Legal Resources) OSHA Compliance Advisor Newsletter, where she opined on the role of human factors in ladder falls. Angela…..

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DON’T MISS EXPERT DAVE GUSHUE’S PRESENTATION AT THE RIMS CONFERENCE IN APRIL!

Dave Gushue, Ph.D. is the VP and Director of Biomechanics at ARCCA, where he uses his expertise in biomechanical engineering to analyze injuries and associated causation. He will be co-presenting “The Anatomy of an Injury:  What You See May Not Be What You Get” with David Hershey, Corporate Risk Manager at Axel Johnson Inc., on April 25th at 2:45 pm during the RIMS Annual Conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center. When you have a case or claim involving bodily injury it is important to investigate causation, which is essential when determining whether the person’s injury was work-related or from Sunday softball……

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WHY THE SEAT BELT DEFENSE IS A VALUABLE TOOL

The Seat Belt Defense is a comparative negligence argument.  At least fifteen states have adopted some form of the Seat Belt Defense law. The seat belt in any automobile is a restraining device that controls the motion of a seated occupant in a crash by coupling the occupant’s body to the vehicle through the strong bones of the body.  This allows the occupant to be brought to a stop in the safest possible manner. The dynamic motion of an occupant during a crash, known as kinematics, follows the fundamental Laws of Physics. The Seat Belt Defense is a form of…..

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MACHINE OPERATOR SAFETY – WHY GUARDING IS SO IMPORTANT

A high school student was working at a boat sales and service shop and was asked to adjust the idle speed on a customer’s boat. The boat had a 120 horsepower engine. He removed the engine cover to perform the service. A flywheel and ring gear were located on the top of the engine with no cover or guard. The service required the engine to be running to adjust the idle speed, and the mechanic was attempting to adjust the throttle stop screw when his right arm contacted the unguarded rotating flywheel causing significant injuries to his arm. When investigating…..

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Research Performed by ARCCA’s Engineers Validates the Use of Google Earth Pro in Accident Reconstruction

We are pleased to announce that a technical paper researched and authored by a team of ARCCA’s engineers has just been approved for publication by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) International.  The paper is titled “Validating Google Earth Pro as a Scientific Utility for Use in Accident Reconstruction”. With the prevalence of satellite imagery in the analysis of collision events growing in the field of accident reconstruction, their research aims to quantify, refine, and compare the accuracies of measurements obtained utilizing conventional instruments to the measurements obtained using Google Earth Pro software. Google Earth Pro often provides clear images…..

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MEET MICHAEL LUTZ – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

MICHAEL LUTZ, B.S., P.E., ACTAR Michael is a Senior Accident Reconstructionist and Forensic Engineer at ARCCA specializing in accident reconstruction of passenger and commercial vehicle collisions and rollovers, analysis of product and equipment failures for industrial, commercial and residential applications, equipment-related personal injuries, and mechanical and civil systems design. He is also experienced in automotive fraud cases involving staged accidents, enhanced damages and phantom vehicle claims.  In addition, he has conducted marine accident reconstructions and can help with your next case or claim involving a boating accident or failure. Michael has 18 years’ experience as a forensic engineer in the…..

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ARCCA EXPERT TO PRESENT WEBINAR ON ENHANCED DAMAGES AND STAGED COLLISIONS

Enhanced damages and staged collisions are often difficult to identify. When hundreds of claims pass through your desk, there is no “red flag” that raises when a veteran body shop or claimant subtly enhances the damages claimed. How do you know if the collision was staged? Why didn’t the airbags deploy? Why does one vehicle have $8K in damages, while the other vehicle only needed a simple bumper refinish? Learn the answers to those questions when Shawn Harrington, Director of Accident Reconstruction at ARCCA, presents on this topic: April 12, 2017 11am PT; 12:00 MT; 1:00pm CT; and 2pm ET This webinar is…..

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FORMULA E RACING – 199MPH AND NO DRIVERS!

Autonomous racing? Robot cars racing each other, humans programming them, and no risk to humans involved in 199 MPH collisions? Sounds like a video game, but it’s real. And it looks awesome. Roborace will pit self-driving race cars against each other, and the design in this link is a 2,149 pound beauty (when you don’t have to design for a human occupant, the designs are insane). It is an electric Formula E circuit, so four 300-kW electric motors power each wheel. We will totally watch this. If the words “tort law”, “computer tortfeasors”, and “negligence standards” get you excited (particularly…..

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ARCCA EXPERT TO PRESENT MARCH 28 WEBINAR – THE CAUSATIVE FACTORS OF SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS

Slips, trips and falls occur on a regular basis and for a variety of reasons.  Angela DiDomenico, PhD, a Senior Biomechanist and Certified Professional Ergonomist at ARCCA, will discuss the causative factors involved in slip, trip and fall events via a webinar to be held Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 1 pm EST. The NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) will be hosting the webinar. Dr. DiDomenico’s presentation will show how biomechanical injury analyses are used to address both damages (i.e. whether the claimed injuries occurred in the described event) and liability (i.e. whether a purported defect was proximate to…..

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SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES – THE LEGISLATIVE BALANCE BETWEEN CONSUMER SAFETY v. MARKET GROWTH

One of the most interesting innovations that will shake out of the autonomous vehicle revolution will be the legislation of this new segment. As of now, legislation is left up to the states, which has created different playgrounds for autonomous vehicles and different rules for each playground. Today we’ll take a look at Michigan’s new rules for autonomous vehicles. Michigan signed groundbreaking legislation into law that allows more freedom to autonomous car manufacturers than ever before. The group of bills, known formally as Senate Bills 995-998 or collectively as the SAVE Act, allows manufacturers to (1) put automated vehicles on highways…..

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MEET PETER CHEN – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

PETER CHEN, M.S.M.E., M.B.A., P.E. Peter is a Mechanical Engineer at ARCCA specializing in Product Failure/Liability, Car and Truck Failure Analysis, Industrial Equipment (manufacturing, production, assembly, construction and HVAC), Worksite Safety, Elevators/Escalators, Aviation, Medical/Rehabilitative and Exercise Equipment, Warnings and Instruction, Fire Cause/Origin, Accident Reconstruction, and Transportation, including Railroad Mishap Investigation. In addition to earning his Master of Science and Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he is also an ACTAR-certified Accident Reconstructionist, a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator, a Certified Crash Data Retrieval Analyst and a JLG Certified Equipment Trainer. While previously working for a…..

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CONNECTED WHILE DRIVING? YOU’D BE SURPRISED AT THE DATA YOUR VEHICLE IS STORING

Every year, the auto industry attempts to innovate new ways to make the driving experience “smarter” to compete with the rapidly changing smartphone and device segment. The in-dash infotainment center (the words “information” and “entertainment” combined) is their best chance to grab your attention (and your data) when you are driving your vehicle. Some infotainment features include hands-free voice technology, apps, integrated GPS, and 4G-connectivity capabilities. These are just some of the functions we as consumers are aware of. But what about the other capabilities our infotainment systems have that we generally take for granted or do not even know…..

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MEET GARY WHITMAN – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

GARY WHITMAN, B.S.M.E. Gary is Director of Crashworthiness at ARCCA and is a premier expert in the fields of occupant crash protection, restraint systems, emergency escape, crash safety and survival, and life support engineering. His main focus is research, testing, design, and development of occupant crash safety systems, including child safety seats, and he has collaborated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Academy of Pediatric Child Injury Prevention, National SAFE KIDS Campaign, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia regarding child restraint research and investigation projects. Gary was also the technical lead on several programs to develop an…..

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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: WHO’S AT FAULT WHEN THERE’S A ROBOT AT THE WHEEL?

We are fascinated by the issue of liability when autonomous vehicles are involved in accidents. Let’s set individual state-by-state rules for autonomous vehicles aside for a moment (we will cover that beast in the future). The issue of who is to blame when the inevitable accident occurs is sticky, at best. Automotive News did a piece a couple of years ago that posed three different scenarios to a law professor, and it is an interesting read. It is my belief that liability disputes against other parties who own or insure the vehicles will take a backseat to large product liability…..

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MEET BRENDAN MORSE – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

BRENDAN J. MORSE, M.S.B.M.E., ACTAR Brendan is a biomechanist specializing in biomechanics (the study of the forces and mechanics associated with injuries to the human body), human factors and accident reconstruction, as they relate to injuries resulting from collisions or any other impact-producing event. While at the University of Rochester, Brendan was particularly involved in research programs related to knee injuries and prosthetic devices, as well as hip biomechanics. And while attending Kettering University, Mr. Morse participated in the non-destructive crash test lab, testing child seat restraint applications at varying impact speeds.  He is an accredited Traffic Accident Reconstructionist by…..

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CUTTING CORNERS IN PRODUCT TESTING CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS ISSUES

As reported in the news, a popular toy (“disruptive technology device”) has had issues with fires. There are many news videos of these devices spontaneously bursting into flames, and they have been banned from being transported on commercial airline flights. Unfortunately, with the increased use of computer power and technology in product design and manufacturing, the time to production for a new product has significantly decreased. Traditionally, this process would take into account the time needed to design, test, validate and re-design it if necessary, and then it would be sent to manufacturing for mass production. This process tends to…..

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WEEKLY NEWS ABOUT AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES – INTRODUCING CRASHAXE

Welcome to our new CrashAxe Newsletter – your weekly source for the latest information in the world of autonomous vehicles. Here we go… As part of a ten-day pilot program that began early last week in Las Vegas, a new driverless shuttle has begun test driving the city streets. This new shuttle hopes to be bussing people around in the near future as it is fully electric and requires no driver. The developing company, Navya, has dubbed its latest success Arma. The company’s spokesman Martin Higgins called it “100 percent autonomous on a programmed route.” Later this year, the city hopes to have several…..

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BICYCLE RIDING IN THE DARK – HOW TO STAY SAFE

With the days being shorter in the winter season, bicycle riding at night, dawn, or dusk greatly increases your risk of an accident as compared to riding during daylight hours. This is in part due to bicyclists being difficult for motorists to see. Consequently, bicyclists should take extra precautions to make themselves more visible and, specifically, more identifiable as a person/bicyclist. By law, a bicycle operating at night is required to have a white front light and a red rear flashing light or a red reflector. Bicyclists can use two front lights, one operating in a steady mode and the…..

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MEET BRIAN BENDA – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

BRIAN BENDA, Ph.D. Dr. Benda is a senior biomechanist specializing in the structural mechanics of the human body, forensic biomechanics, the study of human injury mechanisms and the interaction of humans and medical devices. He also has extensive experience in structural engineering, doing work in aircraft stress analysis, structural dynamics, and earthquake engineering. Brian was accepted into a program jointly offered by MIT and Harvard Medical School which emphasized an engineering or quantitative approach to human physiology, disease, and injury. He also completed coursework at Harvard Medical School and twelve weeks of clinical rotations at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge,…..

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DUCTILE V. BRITTLE FRACTURE – THE FIRST THING FORENSIC SCIENTISTS LOOK FOR IN A MATERIALS FAILURE

When materials break, or fracture, they do so in one of two modes – ductile or brittle. For ductile fracture, picture chewing gum. After the gum has been chewed some, it can be stretched quite a bit before breaking and the cross section gets very thin. For brittle fracture, picture window glass. When it gets stressed, it shatters without stretching at all, and the thickness doesn’t change much either. Most materials exhibit ductile or brittle behavior under different conditions. For instance, consider the chewing gum, but imagine it has been frozen in liquid nitrogen. In that cold state, it shatters…..

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AIR TRAVEL WOES – MANY NON-FLIGHT INJURIES OCCUR IN AIRPORTS, NOT JUST IN THE AIR

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 895.5 million system-wide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2015. With all of that volume, there will unfortunately be airplane crashes, but the number of non-flight related airport incidents is more likely to increase as well. In addition to investigating crashes, ARCCA’s engineers also evaluate all non-flight related airport incidents, including trip and falls, slip and falls, escalator incidents, tarmac incidents, baggage handling, crew member incidents, jet bridge incidents, motor vehicle incidents, and…..

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MEET DAN McDONOUGH – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

DANIEL McDONOUGH, P.E., ACTAR Dan is a mechanical expert specializing in the analyses of residential, industrial, commercial and construction machinery and equipment incidents with regard to safety, code compliance, fire cause/origin and mechanical failures. He is also an accident reconstructionist, conducting investigations of automotive, marine, aviation, recreational, commercial and industrial equipment/systems incidents. He has designed vehicle occupant protection systems for the United States Army, including a novel seating system for mitigating mine blast injuries, and has consulted with the National Hockey League regarding rink design to improve player safety. Dan also has extensive experience in the analysis and investigation of…..

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WATER DAMAGE IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS – COULD DEZINCIFICATION BE THE CAUSE?

Water losses can be overwhelming for property owners and residents, and the cost of repairs can be very high. Many times dezincification of plumbing components is indicated as the cause of the loss. This leaves non-metallurgists wondering “what is dezincification?” Brass is an alloy, a mixture of copper and zinc with some other elements added. Copper usually makes up the majority of the elements in brass, and zinc is added to the copper. The amount of zinc added can vary from 5% to 45%, depending on the alloy. Note that pure zinc is bluish-white in color, while copper is red……

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ARCCA ANNOUNCES NEW OFFICE OPENING!

ARCCA is pleased to announce the opening of its latest office in Oakland, California, as of December 1st.   The office is located at: 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800 Oakland, CA  94612 Tel:  510-496-4625  |  Toll-free:  800-700-4944   Meet the Latest Additions to ARCCA’s Team: JAMES J. MASON, PhD, P.E. is a Senior Engineer at ARCCA specializing in mechanical failures. He performs analyses of failed consumer and industrial products/equipment and machinery design/failure, as well as metallurgical laboratory analyses.  He also conducts engineering evaluations and provides analyses and opinions on the fracture and fatigue of metals, plastics and welds. Dr. Mason has experience with medical…..

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AN UPDATE ON THE SEAT BACK FAILURE ISSUE

Further to our previous blog regarding the serious issue of vehicle seat back failures, Forbes has just published an article by Christopher Jensen, a reporter who has been covering auto safety issues – and seat back failures in particular – for the past 15 years. The author consulted with one of ARCCA’s premier Safety Experts, Alan Cantor, who is mentioned in his latest story. To read the full article, Click Here.

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ARCCA’S SEAT BACK TESTING FEATURED ON CBS NEWS

On Nov. 23, 2016, CBS News provided an update in its series regarding the urgent need for improved regulations concerning seat back strength in automobiles. It reported that several US Senators are sending a letter to NHTSA demanding that the agency take immediate action to remedy this significant seating system requirement deficiency. As reported by CBS, “every day on average, three children are killed and 470 injured in accidents – 11% of those child victims are in the rear seats where the government recommends children sit.” When seat backs fail in a rear-end collision, the driver and/or front seat passenger can be forced rearward, striking a child…..

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I HAVE A FATIGUE FAILURE – IS THAT A PROBLEM?

Each of us has experienced fatigue in our lives, a time when we were extremely tired, typically due to long or intense mental or physical exertion. It turns out that materials experience fatigue too, although not the mental kind. In the field of Materials Science Engineering or Metallurgy, the term “fatigue” has a very specific meaning. In the engineering sense, fatigue is a progressive failure, most often caused by the initiation and growth of a single dominant crack that occurs due to repeated, or cyclic, loading. Initially, when these types of failures were observed in the early 1800s, it was thought…..

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MEET JIM MASON – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

Jim is a Senior Engineer at ARCCA specializing in mechanical failures. He performs analyses of failed consumer and industrial products/equipment and machinery design/failure, as well as metallurgical laboratory analyses. He also conducts engineering evaluations and provides analyses and opinions on the fracture and fatigue of metals, plastics and welds.  Dr. Mason has experience with medical devices and routinely conducts investigations of failed consumer medical devices, including fracture/fatigue crack analyses of orthopedic implants, plastics, and the complex interaction of materials with the human body. Jim is a Licensed Professional Engineer and is an Accident Investigator accredited in Crash Data Retrieval and Commercial…..

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CONSTRUCTION SITE SLIPS AND TRIPS – HOW BIOMECHANISTS ANALYZE WORKER INJURIES

According to OSHA, one in five worker deaths in private industry occurs in construction, and falls are the leading cause of death. However, slips and trips also occur with high frequency. In her recent article in the Insurance Research Newsletter, Biomechanics Expert Angela DiDomenico talks about the various types of injuries that can result from these incidents what can be done to help prevent them on the construction site. Read Dr. DiDomenico’s article here.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

See how the engineers at ARCCA carve their pumpkins using a hockey puck….traveling at 100 mph.  

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MEET SAM WORDEMAN – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

SAMUEL C. WORDEMAN, PH.D. Sam is a Senior Biomechanist at ARCCA specializing in biomechanics, injury tolerance, biomechanical failure mechanisms and accident reconstruction. He is experienced in investigating the response of the human body to the application of mechanical forces to determine the potential for injury. In incidents where injuries are claimed, he will evaluate causation to determine whether there is a relationship between the claimed injuries and a specific incident. Sam has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Biomechanics from Washington University in St. Louis and Master of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees…..

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Mechanical failure claims

A FATAL ELEVATOR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION: THE STEPS TAKEN TO DETERMINE THE CAUSE

About 27 people are killed in elevator accidents each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CPSC. Injuries from elevators affect about 10,200 people per year, with the majority of these accidents being related to elevator door malfunction, carriage misalignment with floors, and passenger safety vulnerabilities. The U.S. Labor Department’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reports that half of the annual elevator-related fatalities occur in repair or maintenance workers who service elevators, or people who use elevators as part of their employment, such as in an office building. In the occupational-related elevator deaths category, 53 percent…..

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MEET TIM JOGANICH – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

TIMOTHY JOGANICH, MSES, C.H.F.P. Tim has over 20 years’ experience in the sciences of human movement, biomechanics, and human factors. He specializes in the analysis of bicycle accidents and helmet safety, based on his educational background as well as his own personal and extensive cycling knowledge. He has over 30 years of direct cycling experience including competitive racing, touring, fitness/recreational riding, commuting, and coaching. Tim also applies his expertise to product safety (hazard analysis, guarding, warnings/instructions); slip, trip and fall incidents; occupant kinematics; occupant crash protection; egress/ingress; and biomechanical injury analysis. He has published in the areas of human factors,…..

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RESIDENTIAL FIRE SPRINKER SYSTEMS – THE PROS AND CONS

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) residential sprinkler initiative was launched in 2009 in an attempt to get sprinklers installed for new residential construction. The idea was relatively simple. Properly designed, working, maintained, and inspected sprinkler systems have been shown to halt a fire, slow fire spread, reduce levels of products of combustion, give people more time to evacuate, and give fire fighters more time to respond to a fire. The NFPA’s initiative was successful in getting adopted by the International Codes Council’s IRC (International Residential Code). However, to date, only California, Maryland and the District of Columbia have accepted the…..

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MEET DON EISENTRAUT – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

DONALD EISENTRAUT, BSME, P.E., ACTAR Don is a mechanical engineer specializing in vehicular accident reconstruction and the forensic analysis of crash protection systems and components. He is recognized as a leading accident reconstructionist and is an expert in seating, seat belt and inflatable restraint systems in ground vehicles as well as aircraft. In addition, he is also experienced in forklift safety. Don is a licensed Professional Engineer and is certified both as a Traffic Accident Reconstructionist by ACTAR and a Crash Data Retrieval Technician/Analyst for recovery and review of data from black boxes. To learn more about Don or to…..

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MEET JACKIE LEWIS – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

JACQUELINE M. LEWIS, PhD Dr. Lewis is a Senior Biomechanist specializing in injury causation, as well as joint and spinal biomechanics. When an accident happens, Jackie can perform an injury causation analysis to determine whether the injuries claimed could have originated from that event. In addition, her research includes evaluating stair climbing function in patients with knee osteoarthritis and after total knee arthroplasty, and she has conducted numerous scientific evaluations including identifying biomechanical and clinical factors that affect functional performance after total knee replacements. To learn more about Jackie or to contact her, click here.

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WHY YOU NEED A QUALIFIED BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEER TO DETERMINE INJURY CAUSATION

Biomechanical engineers apply the laws of physics and the tools and approaches of mechanical engineering to the joints and tissues of the human body. They investigate the response of the human body to the application of mechanical forces to determine the potential for injury. In an incident where injuries are claimed, it is not their role to proffer opinions regarding the presence of any diagnosed injuries, but rather to evaluate causation and determine whether a causal relationship exists between the claimed injuries and a specific incident. Medical doctors are trained to diagnose injuries, but often times they lack the expertise…..

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MEET CHARLES TEMPLE – ARCCA’S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

CHARLES TEMPLE, MSME, P.E. Charles is a Licensed Professional Engineer and has extensive accident investigation, forensic engineering and failure investigation experience. He specializes in construction and workplace safety and is highly qualified in incidents involving scaffolding, conveyors, forklifts and cranes. For nearly 30 years, he has used his expertise in mechanical engineering, safety science, human factors, code compliance and forensic investigation to analyze cases involving a wide range of industrial machinery, construction equipment, HVAC and plumbing systems, vehicles, consumer products and premises issues. To learn more about Charles or to contact him, click here.

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DID THAT DAMAGE TO THE VEHICLE’S BUMPER OCCUR AS REPORTED OR WAS IT ENHANCED?

Accident reconstructionists are often asked to determine whether the damage to a vehicle’s bumper is consistent with the reported accident or crash. While performing an inspection and analysis of the damage in question, the reconstructionist will generally be considering the following: The forces transferred to and from the bumper must be equal and opposite. The principal direction of forces between the bumper and the other vehicle/objects will define the line of action and the resulting bumper deformation. The deformation of the bumper will at first be elastic. Elastic deformation means that upon removal of force, the bumper will return to…..

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MEET MIKE MARKUSHEWSKI – ARCCA’ S EXPERT OF THE WEEK

MICHAEL MARKUSHEWSKI, BSMET Since 1985, Mr. Markushewski has been a recognized leader in the field of accident reconstruction, crashworthiness and occupant protection. He is currently Vice President and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at ARCCA. His extensive experience focuses on research, design, testing and evaluation of aircraft and vehicular seating systems, restraint systems, ejection seat design, crashworthy seating systems, seat belts and inflatable restraints and protective devices. During his career, he has been lead investigator and crash reconstructionist for military and civilian aircraft and automotive ground vehicle mishaps to evaluate occupant protection system performance and evaluate and determine the mechanisms of…..

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WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE PLACING ANYTHING IN YOUR VEHICLE’S TRUNK

The problem of unrestrained cargo in vehicles is an issue that has been known about for years but has not been sufficiently addressed by the federal government and the auto industry in the US. If cargo is not adequately restrained, it can shift during vehicle maneuvering, braking and, most dangerously, in a crash. While minor shifting can occur without any problems, there have been many instances where unrestrained cargo has been responsible for injuries to vehicle occupants. As an example, ARCCA was involved in a case where a child returning home with his parents after a hockey game was paralyzed…..

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WHY INSPECTING THE CRASH SITE CAN BE INVALUABLE TO ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONISTS

When a reconstructionist is investigating how an accident happened, a site inspection can provide vital information. This was shown to be true in a case where early one morning in the darkness before dawn, a large sedan was traveling southbound on an unlit 4-lane divided rural road with a small grass median between the opposing lanes. The sedan collided with the side of a low-boy construction trailer that had stopped while making a left turn across the sedan’s lane. A construction gate on a driveway had been closed and the northbound tractor/trailer had to stop, as he could not complete…..

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EXPERTS DAVE GUSHUE AND SHAWN HARRINGTON TO SPEAK AT IASIU 2016

If you’re attending the IASIU meeting at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas (Sept. 11-14), be sure to catch the following presentations by two of our premier experts: DAVID GUSHUE, PhD Sept. 13, 2016 10:15 am to 11:45 am Topic: “From Accident to Injury” SHAWN HARRINGTON, BSESM, ACTAR Sept. 14, 2016 10:15 am to 11:45 am Topic: “A Study of Enhanced Damages and Staged Collisions” Please also stop by our Booth #309 to meet Dave, Shawn and our team.

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THE LATEST NEWS IN BICYCLE HELMET DESIGN

The current design of bicycle helmets entails an EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner with fixed a hard plastic outer shell cover. The EPS liner is the primary protective design feature that crushes and absorbs the impact energy. Ultimately, the EPS liner reduces the energy transmitted to the skull and brain, thereby reducing the risk of injury. The hard shell feature helps prevent the helmet from snagging on the pavement and inducing neck injuries in addition to distributing the impact force over a wider area. Head and specifically brain injuries are not solely due to a direct linear type of impact. Brain…..

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MEET THE LATEST ADDITION TO ARCCA’S TEAM OF EXPERTS

MICHAEL LUTZ, B.S., P.E., ACTAR, has recently joined us as a Senior Accident Reconstructionist and Forensic Engineer specializing in accident reconstruction of passenger and commercial vehicle collisions, analysis of product and equipment failures, mechanical and civil systems design, management consulting, and project management of large-scale commercial and residential construction projects.   Michael has 18 years’ experience as a forensic engineer in the commercial and utility sectors and 11 years’ experience in the construction industry. To learn more about Michael and how he can help you with your next case or claim, click HERE.

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AND YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD A BAD DAY…

Some people have bad days that just get worse. As an accident reconstructionist, I’ve experienced some cases where the driver just could not catch a break. John was driving his pickup in a Pennsylvania rainstorm on a 2-lane state highway when an oncoming sedan lost control and spun into his lane. The impact on the front and side of his truck forced him onto the narrow shoulder to his right and into contact with the guiderail. A bad day for anyone, but it didn’t end there. His pickup struck the guiderail, rolled over it into the ditch beside the road…..

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DETECTING INSURANCE FRAUD – HOW CDR DOWNLOADS CAN HELP

As accident reconstructionists, we strive to explain the circumstances leading up to a collision and the vehicle dynamics of the collision. In doing so, we’ve uncovered insurance fraud in some of our cases where the investigation has actually shown that the collision could not have taken place as claimed. One such case was a claim that a parked car had been heavily side-swiped by another passing car during the night. The frontal airbags had not fired, which would have been consistent with either the car being parked and not running, or the side-swipe not producing the necessary accelerations for the…..

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WHY ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONISTS USE DRAG SLEDS

One of my first experiences investigating accidents occurred early in my career when I was working as a police officer. When a call came in involving a traffic accident and all units arrived on scene, the first assignment was to ensure that everyone involved was unhurt. Once the scene was secured, several basic investigating areas needed to be covered. One of these was to obtain an accurate roadway frictional coefficient. Back then, most of us relied on the use of a drag sled for this purpose. A drag sled is an apparatus that uses a weighted object with a tire…..

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DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARSON AND AN INCENDIARY FIRE?

American English has a rich and complex history, having first incorporated words from many different colonization and immigration waves, and then in recent history having invented or created words for rapidly advancing technology.  A simple word like “fault” can mean entirely different things depending on the context and field of use.  A “fault” in electrical engineering may mean a short between two electrical lines of different polarities.  In control logic, a “fault” could be a measured or detected failed signal or logic state.  A “fault” in geology could mean the boundary between plates in the Earth’s crust.  “Fault” in the…..

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