to The Tennessee Association of Investigators, Inc.
Message from Pat Reilly Chairman
A post from Bob Duhaime for those interested in the topic of accident reconstruction.
Welcome to the Bob Duhaime school.... of everything.
“Traffic crash reports by police departments are very often inaccurate”.
By: Robert M. Duhaime
Court Qualified Accident Reconstruction Expert
Court Qualified Investigation Expert
February 2, 2015
After doing some research, I have again proven that my experience supports everything
that you will read in this short article.
My experience shows that traffic crash reports have been inaccurate for over 25 years.
Inaccurate traffic crash reports have no business being used by anyone to improve our
transportation system. The obvious reason would be because the information would be
based on inaccuracies from the police officers at the scene. These inaccurate traffic crash
reports perpetuate the lack of concrete verifiable information needed to improve the
transportation system thereby resulting in a deterioration of effective improvement.
Studies show that more than 70 percent of crash reports filled out by officers were missing
important data, and many had errors as to fault for the accident based on lack of
investigation to determine fault.
Crash report v accident investigation data has been a failure in three significant areas.
Primary cause, which is a misnomer, it is proximate cause or commencement of the
sequence of events. Second, injuries which are inaccurate and non-determined as to
origin. Finally, crash type such as angle collisions, secondary angle collisions, non-
accident damages, and inaccurate location information.
To correct the problem we must increase and improve the training of police officers and
demand full investigation processes on all accidents. Not just the serious ones. By
training the department personnel to acceptable levels of competent accident
investigation, more accurate information is available to document specific targets to
relieve and improve problem areas in the transportation system.
I have been developing an easier-to-use accident form with cause analysis based on the
investigation rather than a report. As a result, I have developed the use of easy to
understand and use, math calculations required in accident investigation and
reconstruction. I also have a simple scene preservation and documentation system for
police officers, and can teach anyone an easy way to obtain information sources to
enhance the process of accident investigation.
Bringing all officers to the level of advanced accident investigation would be simple, short
and easy for everyone to accomplish. The departments would have minimum expenditure,
and have forms with which to develop and log all accident data easily by computer
storage. The end result would be a much more accurate compilation of problems and
areas needing the most improvement.