New software for accident analysis investigation could improve fairness in evaluating crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists
If you have frank conversations with most professionals--transportation planners and even officers from traffic enforcement divisions of police departments--they will admit that police officers need more and better training concerning accident analysis and reconstruction.
The State of Missouri, working with the Kansas City Transportation Department, has introduced a new software system that significantly improves the process of accident analysis. The report on the program, "Kansas City Police Use Forensic Mapping to Investigate Accidents," from Government Technology magazine, doesn't discuss potential improvements for the analysis of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists, but I queried the project manager and he wrote back:
This equipment will be utilized to investigate and reconstruct crashes, including those involving pedestrians. I share your concerns about the proper investigation of pedestrian [accident]s. I think that too many times officers don't have the training to accurately determine the true cause(s) of crashes.
I hope that the officers will be able to both investigate/reconstruct crashes, and make recommendations regarding design/engineering. To add to the issues, officers can't properly enforce laws if they can't determine the true cause of crashes.
He didn't mention bicyclists, but I think his comments can be extended to the consideration and analysis of accidents involving bicyclists as well.
I really liked this British television miniseries, even though it didn't involve a pedestrian accident.