Lug Nut Trace Analysis to Determine Velocity Ratio 2011-01-0282
When two vehicles contact in a side swipe collision, if one of the vehicles has lug nuts that protrude outboard of the wheel, gouge marks may be left in the other vehicle's exterior. Hereafter the marked vehicle will be referred to as the car and the vehicle with the lug nuts will be called the truck. If the car is stationary, the marks will be in the form of a curtate trochoid and will reveal no information about the speed of the truck. If the car is not stationary, analysis of the shape of the traces left on the side of the car by the lug nuts of the rotating truck wheel can determine the velocity ratio of the car to that of the truck. If the speed of either vehicle is known or can be determined using other information or accident reconstruction techniques, lug nut mark analysis will enable determination of the other vehicle's speed. This paper will build on previous work in the published literature and develop a simple step-by-step process to analyze lug nut marks and determine the velocity ratio of the contacting vehicles. Three case studies will then demonstrate application of the process to real world examples.