State Authorities Using Drones for Crash Reconstruction

Posted by Josh Valentine | Oct 31, 2017

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

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “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 who 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.” 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