Motor Vehicle Collision Analysis

1When you retain Baker Materials Engineering to investigate and analyze a motor vehicle collision, you have one of the most experienced engineering teams, with the widest available resources, acting for you. We are the oldest and one of the largest firms in this specialized engineering field. The areas where we provide our expertise are comprehensive and include all aspects of motor vehicle collisions where engineering analysis can be usefully applied.

Motor Vehicle Collision Analysis

The engineer carrying out the analysis will have a wide range of resources to draw upon: an immense body of archived data (often unavailable elsewhere), state-of-the art computer software, and of course, our forensics laboratory. Most of our services are provided to the insurance and legal communities. We also assist police forces in their criminal investigations with our specialized expertise. Long, cordial relationships with police forces are an inherent advantage enjoyed by BME in successfully gathering field data.

In the Field

Sound field data is the foundation of good collision analysis and BME emphasizes that by sending only experienced engineers into the field to gather the data. The data gathering process may include:

  • Examining vehicle collision damage, measuring deformation and crush, determining force directions, identifying matching damage artifacts between two or more involved vehicles, or artifacts of pedestrian encounters.
  • Passenger compartment examination for occupant contact, for evidence of seatbelt usage, for hair and fiber deposits (recovered for DNA analysis).
  • Mechanical systems examination for defects and flaws.
  • Collision site examination to identify and document case incident artifacts and segregate these from unrelated artifacts.
  • Carrying out visibility evaluation projects to document driver avoidance opportunities, particularly for night time collisions.
  • Determining friction coefficients for collision vehicles, for fallen motorcycles, and for thrown riders or pedestrians, using prepared dummies and special load cell instrumentation.

In the Lab

Our laboratory is a resource of great value in many aspects of vehicle collision analysis. When mechanical system failure issues arise (possibly with product liability implications), a comprehensive study of questioned components can be carried out. Lab findings are seamlessly integrated into our overall investigation of the incident. Examples of work carried out in our lab include:

  • Analyzing paint samples for matching purposes in alleged hit and run claims.
  • Determining the nature and cause of tire failures, and of suspension, brake, and steering system component failures.
  • Analyzing fire-involved systems and components.
  • Examining seatbelt restraint devices for defects and for evidence of usage.
  • Examining and matching animal hair and tissue deposits for collision cause allegations.
  • Evaluating failed heavy vehicle load-securing devices.

In the Office

This is where all our findings and gathered data are brought together and integrated into a cohesive whole. Typical work includes:

  • Developing collision scene drawings from identified site artifacts and establishing vehicle motions during the incident.
  • Assessing mechanical system involvement from laboratory examination results.
  • Evaluating Event Data Recorder (EDR) data.
  • Evaluating Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
  • Using manual methods and computer software to determine vehicle speeds consistent with the gathered evidence.
  • Determining occupant displacement directions and magnitudes for driver identification or seatbelt issues.
  • Carrying out time-motion studies of vehicle convergence, for vision and avoidance issues.


Jonathan P. Gough P.Eng.
David M. Little P.Eng.
D. Harvey West P.Eng.