Police accident laser scanners warmly welcomed

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Police accident laser scanners warmly welcomed

13th July 2011

road accident specialist has welcomed news that police in England are to use advanced new laser scanners to enable them to record highly accurate 3D images of accident scenes.

“This is fantastic news for police accident investigators as the sheer scale of detail these scanners are able to record is staggering,” said Matthew Claxson, a road traffic collisions expert and partner at Fentons Solicitors LLP. “What has previously been painstakingly carried out by hand can now be recorded in a fraction of the time.”

The new tripod-mounted scanners will use 3D laser technology to take 360-degree crash site images recording 30 million separate data points down to a resolution of less than a millimetre.

“The main benefit of these scanners is the amount of detail they can bring in terms of evidence,” said Matthew. “Using 3D scanning to produce precise digital images of crash scenes means investigators can build a hugely comprehensive accident plan of unprecedented detail that can be analysed at a later date and help remove any ambiguity about what may have caused a road accident in the first place.”

In addition, the £3m investment will enable police to clear roads more quickly following crash site analysis and as a result limit the estimated annual £1bn lost to the economy every time freight traffic and those commuting to work get caught in tailbacks following major road accidents.

“Whenever someone is killed or seriously injured on our roads the crash site must be preserved as a crime scene,” said Matthew. “This is so any subsequent inquest or court case can be given the accident details pertinent to each case. These can include for example a log of everything that was found at the scene as well as factors such as precise measurements indicating distances between vehicles and debris, skid markings showing signs of sudden braking and road conditions and speed limits in use at the time of the accident.

“In order to collect every specific detail, specialist police accident investigators can spend hours surveying crash sites collecting the evidence and measurements they need,” added Matthew. “This inevitably leads to long road closures which in turn lead to time and money being lost as a result of people being trapped in tailbacks.”

Last year, figures suggest there were more than 18,000 full or partial motorway closures lasting a total of more than 20,000 hours, at a cost of £50,000 per hour.

“Lessening the amount of time it takes for police to thoroughly investigate a crash scene obviously makes sense as it allows for roads to be reopened more quickly,” said Matthew. “Before the advent of this type of technology, it was necessary for every aspect of crash site analysis to be laboriously recorded by hand.

“Any measures designed to speed up and improve the process of accountability in the investigation of road traffic accidents while at the same time helping to save a huge amount of time and money as a result, should be widely embraced,” added Matthew.

How can Fentons help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for families and victims of fatal road traffic collisions.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more: BBC