Using Data from a DriveCam Event Recorder to Reconstruct a Vehicle-to-Vehicle Impact 2013-01-0778
This paper reports a method for analyzing data from a DriveCam unit to determine impact speeds and velocity changes in vehicle-to-vehicle impacts. A DriveCam unit is an aftermarket, in-vehicle, event-triggered video and data recorder. When the unit senses accelerations over a preset threshold, an event is triggered and the unit records video from two camera views, accelerations along three directions, and the vehicle speed with a GPS sensor. In conducting the research reported in this paper, the authors ran four front-to-rear crash tests with two DriveCam equipped vehicles. For each test, the front of the bullet vehicle impacted the rear of the stationary target vehicle. Each of the test vehicles was impacted in the rear twice - once at a speed of around 10 mph and again at a speed around 25 mph. The accuracy of the DriveCam acceleration data was assessed by comparing it to the data from other in-vehicle instrumentation. We found that, for in-line front-to-rear crashes like those tested in this paper, the video, GPS and acceleration data reported by the DriveCam systems is useful for reconstructing crashes, provided that the reconstructionist accounts for potential limitations in the data.