Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-1283

Reconstruction of Accident Severity in a Multiple Vehicle Collision 2001-01-1283

This paper presents various reconstruction methods for a multiple-car-collision, resulting from one vehicle approaching a line of stationary, undamaged vehicles that consequently pushes the stationary vehicles into one another. Under these conditions, the approaching vehicle speed and delta-V of all vehicles can be estimated from the summation of all vehicles' front and rear damage plus their run-out energies. However, seldom are all vehicles available for damage inspection, or are the skid/gouge-marks or friction-coefficients adequately known. The accident severity of the collision pair of interest would be reconstructed more efficiently if the damage energy method were applied to only this collision pair. This method, however, entails the concern that the observed damage of these two vehicles has been enhanced by the subsequent collisions.
An analysis is presented to specify the conditions under which initial vehicle damage of a collision pair is not enhanced by successive collisions, such that the initial delta-V of the vehicles of interest can be calculated using only the front and rear damage energy of that pair. The vehicles must have low restitution and sufficient space between them, such that the vehicle pile-up can be treated like a sequence of two-vehicle crashes (where the approaching vehicle may consist of a combination of the previously collided vehicles). The method is applicable for most real-world accidents, unless one or more of the vehicles is significantly heavier and/or stiffer than the vehicles of interest.


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