Case Study - Vehicle Interior Examination 

The case study below shows how Advanced Simtech were able to apply their knowledge of occupant biomechanics combined with a detailed examination of the vehicle interior in order to provide the court with an expert opinion regarding what happened inside the vehicle during the collision.

The incident involved a single vehicle carrying three occupants.  Survivor A was believed to have been seated in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision, the seating positions of Survivor B (the defendant) and Deceased C were unknown. 

This case had already been to court and was dismissed based on insufficient evidence, hence we were asked to get involved almost six months after the incident occurred. 

Case Study:   Vehicle Interior Examination (Seat Deformation) 

Customer:    Greater Manchester Police 

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Case Overview

This incident involved a single vehicle, carrying three occupants.

  • An unknown loss of control led to the vehicle initially leaving the road to the left hand side, whilst rotating in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • The vehicle is known to have impacted with the raised kerb stone at the edge of the hard shoulder, before continuing to move along the road with a continuation of the anti-clockwise rotation.
  • It then passed the hard shoulder before arcing over the slip road and mounting the Armco barrier on the opposite side.
  • The vehicle subsequently travelled along the top of this barrier before its nearside rear corner collided with a heavy duty barrier positioned  to protect the railway line passing under the slip road.

At some position along the scene, Deceased C was ejected through the rear of the vehicle and fatally injured.

Objective

As it had been ascertained that Survivor A was seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle at the time of the collision,  our objective was to demonstrate whether Deceased C was the driver or the rear seat passenger.

Solution/Methodology 

A detailed examination of the vehicle interior and  stripdown of relevant components was undertaken. 

Results

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As a result of this examination, we were able to show that:

  • there was no evidence of any person being thrown or forcibly moving between the front and rear of the vehicle. 
  • there was no evidence to indicate that the the driver was forcibly transferred from the front seat into the rear and then into a position which would have enabled him to be ejected through the rear windshield.
  • the deformation to the driver's seat was as would be expected if the rear seat occupant  had been thrown forward, loading the rear of the driver's seat, and then being ejected from the vehicle from the known point of ejection.

From this we were able to conclude that deceased occupant would not have been the driver of this vehicle, and therefore that Survivor B was most probably the driver at the time of this incident.

Conclusion/Outcome

A conviction of “death by dangerous driving” was achieved on the basis of the evidence that we presented. 

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