Autonomous vehicle braking: still a bit hit and miss

Many new cars automatically brake before striking another vehicle in their path. Though automakers have coined different names for this new feature, all of these auto emergency braking systems operate in much the same way: they use a combination of cameras, radar and lidar to “look” ahead for obstacles and then apply the brakes to […]

The bike helmet: A life saver with limitations

Bicycle helmets save lives. They protect the head and brain during bicycle crashes where the cyclist’s head strikes the ground, a vehicle, or some other roadside object. But bicycle helmets are not perfect: there are times when even a properly worn helmet does not prevent a head injury. How do helmets work? The main part of the helmet […]

HOT SHOCK: Illuminating Evidence of Headlamp Use

Whether a vehicle’s lights were on or off can affect liability for a nighttime car crash. Fortunately, there is often physical evidence of whether a vehicle’s lights were on or off at the time of a collision: hot shock.  An incandescent lightbulb emits visible light when an electric current is passed through the finely coiled […]

Bicycle helmets stand the test of time

Helmets withstand the test of time. Using 770 donated bicycle helmets, Alyssa DeMarco, Dennis Chimich, and Gunter Siegmund found little or no evidence of helmet age-related deterioration in impact performance. Within the limitations of the sample and test conditions, these findings do not justify replacing a damage-free helmet every 2-10 years as recommended by some […]

Concussion and Whiplash Injury

Can a concussion be caused by a low-speed rear-end crash? The prevailing science suggests the answer is no, but new research has identified some cases where the answer could be yes. Most people link whiplash injuries to low-speed rear-end crashes and concussions to direct head impacts. These links are sufficiently pervasive that the type of […]

Distracted Driving: How it Affects Liability

Distraction has always affected drivers, but the addition of interactive devices like cell phones and navigation systems has raised both the opportunity for distracted driving and awareness of its perils. Although official US statistics show that only 17% of injury-causing collisions involved distraction,1 a yearlong study monitoring drivers during regular vehicle use showed that inattention […]

Safely Towing a Trailer

Trailers are an important part of many family vacations, but they can also spell tragedy if they are not properly equipped, properly set up and properly towed. Tow vehicles handle, brake and corner differently when towing a trailer. Stopping distances can be twice as long when towing a trailer, and during cornering the trailer’s wheels […]

Can A Priori Risk Establish Injury Causation?

The risk of sustaining an injury during a specific kind of crash can be calculated from real world accident data. We simply take the number of injured individuals following a crash and divide this by the number of individuals exposed to this kind of crash. The resulting number, expressed as a percentage, is the a […]

When Should I Replace My Helmet?

It’s common knowledge that a helmet should be replaced after a significant impact. Exposure to extreme heat or chemicals, like gasoline, ammonia and solvents, can also degrade a helmet. But aside from impact, heat or chemical damage, does a helmet need to be replaced just because it is old? Do the impact attenuating properties of […]