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State Authorities Using Drones for Crash Reconstruction

Posted by Josh Valentine | Oct 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

When a large auto accident occurs on North Carolina highways, it is the duty of state troopers to take pictures and make measurements in an effort to determine what happened. No matter how much manpower is present on the scene of an accident, it oftentimes takes a number of hours and sometimes days to gather information and reconstruct auto collisions, leaving frustrated motorists on the highway to adapt to congested traffic conditions. In circumstances involving serious accidents, drivers are even forced to take another route or exit the highway early due to blocked off portions of roadways.

However, this might change in the coming months for state motorists due to new technology. The State Highway Patrol says that it is planning to lessen inconveniences for drivers by using drones to reconstruct and document vehicle collisions. Patrol agents say that drones are capable of doing things humans can't do, like making 3-D images of crash scenes and taking aerial images. Plus, they are able to finish the process of reconstruction at a much faster pace than state troopers.

“(We can use drones) to map a collision scene quickly, safely and to gather the data to the accuracy standards they are required,” said Basil Yap, an employee with the Department of Transportation's Aviation Department.

Videos displaying testing sessions of the drones were recently released to exemplify just how effective they will be once officially used on state highways. One of these videos, which took place in Asheville, displayed the improved efficiency of drones compared to state troopers in a simulated head-on collision.

The drones used a laser scanner to capture images of the scene and built a 3D model for state troopers to use to determine the cause of an accident. State troopers continued their methods on the scene for the same accident. The video revealed that it took troopers approximately two hours to finish their investigation and document the accident, while it only took a drone 25 minutes. Authorities discovered that with the help of drones, lanes can be opened up more quickly.

One major concern that was once expressed by law enforcement was the disturbances that first responders experienced as a result of slow and overcrowded highways. First responders also claimed that moving around traffic put them in a position to cause an accident themselves and operate in dangerous conditions. This concern will be alleviated with the implementation of drones in serious accidents, as shorter reconstruction times keeps traffic steadily flowing.

State authorities are also working on using cheaper drones for smaller traffic related projects like monitoring congestion during events.

“We're seeing as this technology develops that it's getting cheaper and cheaper, and we're only going to see those efficiencies improve in the future,” Yap said.

North Carolina Traffic Attorneys

If you have been cited with a traffic ticket through the observation of an officer or as a result of an accident, you should contact a skilled traffic attorney. The attorneys at Caulder & Valentine are well-versed in North Carolina's traffic regulations and have represented people who have acquired both petty and serious traffic offenses. Contact them today for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person that was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer.  So that's why I became an attorney.  I understand what you are going through—and I'm here to help you.  Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life. Before attending law school, I worked for a law firm focused on record clearing services, including expungements, pardons, and motions for appropriate relief.  The vast experience and understanding of North Carolina's expungement laws that I have acquired has given me an advantage in defending criminal charges, because not only do I fight for the best possible outcome in your case, but I am also continually conscious of the long term effects that a criminal charge or conviction can have on a person's life.  As such, I will do whatever I can to insure that my clients will not end up with a criminal record.  I was born in New London, Connecticut, but spent the first few years of my life in Dallas, Texas, before moving to Rutherfordton, North Carolina in 2001.  Upon graduating from high school, I attended Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where I majored in Accounting.  Eager to finish school, I began law school at Charlotte School of Law the day of my graduation from GWU, and completed my law degree in two years (instead of the typical three). During law school, I studied hard and strived to acquire the most experience possible so that I would be practice ready upon graduation.  The opportunities I gained included prosecuting criminal defendants through an externship with the Burke County District Attorney's Office, defending criminal defendants through Charlotte School of Law's Criminal Justice Clinic, and interning with Farmer & Morris, PLLC. I am blessed with a beautiful wife, Gabrielle Valentine, who is an attorney at Farmer & Morris, PLLC, in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  In my free time, I enjoy helping with the youth group in my church, playing basketball and softball in our local church leagues, serving in the prison ministry, and spending time with my family.  Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar


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