How do I become an accident investigator?

Accident Investigators play a very important role in the efforts to enhance road safety. They allow us to reconstruct and find the cause of an accident – which then allows transport and safety officials to address this and formulate strategies to prevent similar accidents.

This also benefits the insurance industry as fewer accidents lead to fewer insurance claims.

But how do you become an accident investigator? This was the question raised with the Arrive Alive website. We would like to share this and the response from well known accident investigator Stan Bezuidenhout.

Question:

I want to do an accident reconstruction course. I am currently in the transport industry and I want to practice in the specialized field relating to accident reconstruction. I need information as to what courses I can apply for to be acknowledged and to conduct accident reconstructions.

Answer:

There are no courses in South Africa (or anywhere in the world, in fact) that will or can cause you to be “acknowledged as an accident reconstruction expert.”

There are an array of different routes into this field, including (but not limited to) engineering, physics and mathematics.

I strongly recommend that you visit our web-site at www.ibfsa.com for an overview of the skills needed just to be an investigator.

Only after several years as an investigator, and with a lot of experience and self-study (many aspects are innovative and/or cutting edge, so there would be no courses), you can start to approach the industry with caution.

For your information, it is the decision of the courts to declare you an expert witness – if you cannot convince the court of your expert status, you testimony will be disregarded and your credibility tarnished.

I recommend you research much, much more before you set your goals on becoming a reconstructionist.

Two places to start would be at www.aras360.com and www.visualstatement.com, for an overview of some of the technologies you might need to be able to use.

Keep in mind that ARAS360 involves direct 3D animation while VistaFX3 could involve the use of over 750 mathematical formulae. The trick is not knowing how to “enter values,” but in knowing which of the many possible models might be applicable to the specific matter under consideration.

Then you must also become so good as to be able to prove the likes of professors of mechanical engineering and doctors of applied mathematics wrong – else you will be annihilated in court.

If this sounds like I am just trying to scare you – consider the fact that I have never been proven wrong (by any court or by any expert) in court, after more than 7,500 investigations and literally hundreds of court testimonies. I assure you – the scenario I am painting is still a kind one. This industry can be brutal. If you are imperfect in any way, it will be in the opposing expert’s interest to highlight every little efficiency you may fall prey to.

Shout if there is anything else I can guide you on.

Yours in need,

Stan Bezuidenhout

Also view:

Accident Investigation and Road Safety

Choosing an Accident Investigator

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