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Traffic Crash Investigators' Manual: A Levels 1 and 2 Reference, Training and Investigation Manual, Third Edition

NCJ Number
R. W. Rivers
Date Published
258 pages
This manual is a training guide for the investigation of traffic crashes, as well as a reference for personnel involved in these investigations.
The manual describes in detail the requirements for a properly conducted crash investigation by indicating the types of evidence to collect and how to recognize, interpret, collect, and record evidence. Among the evidence items discussed are skid marks, yaw marks, roadway and vehicle marks, and damages, as well as environmental, human, and mechanical factors. The principles presented are intended to answer the following questions about the crash: what happened; where the crash occurred; when the crash occurred; why the crash occurred; and who was involved. An introductory chapter defines a traffic crash, outlines the objective of a traffic crash investigation, specifies at-scene investigators' responsibilities, personnel selection and training, and an investigator's inventory. Chapter 2, "Series of Events," defines this phrase and discusses the classification of events. Chapter 3, "Investigative Procedures," provides guidance on planning the investigation, receiving the report of a traffic crash, proceeding to the scene, arrival at the scene, and leaving the scene. The "human element" in the crash is addressed in the fourth chapter, and chapter 5 presents guidelines for questioning drivers and witnesses. Chapter 6, "Environmental Factors," defines "highway," discusses what constitutes the environment of the crash, presents guidelines for the highway examination, and considers the importance of weather conditions. "Highway and Vehicle Marks and Damages" focuses on what to look for and how to record, collect, and analyze these observations. Remaining chapters provide instruction in the vehicle mechanical inspection; photography; failure to remain at the scene of a crash; field sketches maps, and diagrams; and speed estimates. A 23-item bibliography, subject index, and appended summary of formulas along with supplementary information on speed estimates