NUCPS Crash Investigation & Reconstruction
The concept of scientific crash investigation has been a part of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety since its inception in 1936. We literally "wrote the book" on crash investigation and reconstruction, and we continue to be world leaders in providing training in these areas. Our Crash Investigation program is the most comprehensive program of its kind, with courses beginning at basic crash investigation and culminating in various advanced crash reconstruction courses.
Traffic Crash Investigation Courses
Crash Investigation 1
"Will make you think about crashes in a whole new way. . . Extremely informative and has good hands-on application. Once you finish with this course, you feel empowered to handle traffic crashes." - Sgt. Wayne Jakobitz, Bourbonnais (IL) Police Department
Crash Investigation 1 introduces the concept of traffic crash investigation. Based on J. Stannard Baker's renowned text, Traffic Crash Investigation, 2014 Edition, Crash 1 offers an in-depth study of the skills needed to investigate a traffic collision scene, thoroughly covering the techniques for recognizing and properly recording roadway and vehicle crash evidence. Students learn to measure and photograph accident scenes and to create sketches and after-crash diagrams. Crash 1 also addresses how collected data are used to reconstruct traffic accidents, as well as the use of electronic devices for collecting and recording at-scene data.
Upcoming Crash Investigation 1 Classes
Crash Investigation 2
Crash Investigation 2 emphasizes vehicle behavior in crashes, vehicle damage analysis, and advanced mapping and evidence location skills. Crash 2 builds upon topics examined in Crash Investigation 1 and provides students with greater knowledge of the information available at an accident scene and of the proper techniques for collecting and initiating interpretation of that information. Crash Investigation 2 also covers the use of laser-based measurement devices and downloading electronic information into mapping programs.
Upcoming Crash 2 Courses
Vehicle Dynamics introduces the laws of physics and mechanics that relate to traffic crashes and prepares students for NUCPS crash reconstruction courses.
Upcoming Vehicle Dynamics Courses
Online Crash Investigation Courses
Crash Investigation 1 Online - Instructor-Led
Our world-renowned Crash Investigation 1 has been transformed into an online course. Crash Investigation 1 Online offers the same curriculum, content, and instruction as its on-campus counterpart but in an instructor-led, online format.
Register for Crash 1 Online
Crash Investigation 2 Online - Instructor-Led
This online, instructor-led course provides the same information as presented in the on-campus Crash Investigation 2, focusing on the interpretation and analysis of traffic crash-related evidence.
Register for Crash 2 Online
Traffic Crash Reconstruction Courses
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1 (73 ACTAR CEUs)
"Reconstruction 1 is a challenging course, but the manner in which it is presented keeps you interested . . . The instructors are top notch, and the case studies are unique. The case studies push you to think logically and apply the newly learned information to help make sense of how the crash occurred. Man, is it satisfying when you are on the right track!" - Officer WE Kumpula, Antioch (IL) Police Department on the new Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1
Completely revised! Our renowned reconstruction course features a new format that focuses on the basics of traffic crash reconstruction. Students are immersed in such critical core material as: engineering mechanics; vehicle behavior in collisions; an introduction to human factors; time-distance analysis; EDR usage in traffic crash reconstruction; post-collision drag factor analysis; momentum; and, special velocity calculations (e.g., sideslip, falls, vaults, and flips).
Upcoming Crash Reconstruction 1 Classes
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 2 (35 ACTAR CEUs)
Completely Revised! Building upon the basics taught in the new format of Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1, the newly revised Traffic Crash Reconstruction 2 focuses primarily on energy-based analysis. During this course, students learn the principles of energy and damage energy, occupant behavior, and momentum and energy analysis, and also receive an introduction to force balance.
Upcoming Crash Reconstruction 2 Courses
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 3 (40 ACTAR CEUs)
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 3 provides the reconstruction professional with advanced analytical and methodological concepts to better understand and explain real-world crash reconstructions. In-depth instruction is focused on Monte Carlo analysis, advanced concepts in energy and advanced concepts in momentum.
Upcoming Crash Reconstruction 3 Courses
Traffic Crash Reconstruction Refresher (23 ACTAR CEUs)
This refresher is for those who completed their crash reconstruction training some time ago and need to renew their skills or for those who need an update on newer technologies, such as EDR, LED or HID vehicle lights, ABS brakes, or stability control. The course reviews the basic physics techniques that are used to analyze traffic crashes as well as the newest technologies in the field.
Register for a Refresher Course
Upcoming ACTAR Exam Dates
NUCPS strongly encourages all crash reconstruction students to pursue ACTAR accreditation. The final step is the accreditation examination.
Upcoming US test dates and locations include:
- May 24, 2020: Libertyville, IL
- Jun. 6, 2020: Nashville, TN
- Jun. 14, 2020: Altoona, IA
- Jul. 9, 2020: London, OH
- Jul. 12, 2020: Phoenix, AZ
- Jul. 24, 2020: Springfield, MO
- Jul. 26, 2020: Mt. Pleasant, SC
- Oct. 6, 2020: Ocean City, MD
- Oct. 26, 2020: Golden, CO
Learn about the accreditation process on the ACTAR website.
Advanced Crash Reconstruction Courses
Heavy Vehicle Crash Reconstruction (39 ACTAR CEUs)
This course examines the unique characteristics of how heavy vehicles, especially articulated vehicles, perform in various crash scenarios. Areas of emphasis include assessment of truck braking systems, EDRs, tachygraphs, and gear positions. Includes seven ours of field testing and the opportunity to analyze and apply collected data.
Upcoming Heavy Vehicle Reconstruction Courses
Motorcycle Crash Reconstruction (39 ACTAR CEUs)
This course examines the unique and specialized characteristics of motorcycles when involved in collisions or loss of control incidents. Topics covered include vehicle components, vehicle handling, unique dynamics, event data recorders and the braking system, and the course includes practical outdoor exercises using actual motorcycles.
Learn more about Motorcycle Crash Reconstruction
Pedestrian/Bicycle Vehicle Crash Reconstruction (40 ACTAR CEUs)
Crash reconstructionists understand that when a vehicle strikes the human body, the body will behave differently than another vehicle would in the same situation. Vehicle versus pedestrian/bicycle collisions often result in traumatic injuries or fatalities on the part of the pedestrian or bicyclist. Accuracy is especially important when investigating and reconstructing crashes involving these types of crashes. In Pedestrian/Bicycle Crash Reconstruction, students learn the mathematical equations to model such collisions and the appropriate formulas for varying crash scenarios.
Learn More about this Advanced Reconstruction Course
Advanced Crash Reconstruction Utilizing Human Factors Research
Learn to understand the human role in the crash sequence. Topics include how human decision, action, inaction, and other behaviors contribute to determining the how and why of a collision. Advanced curriculum also incorporates reaction time research, response delays and impairment, nighttime response scenarios, and IDRR and V*Star software tutorials.
Event Data Recorder (EDR) Courses
CDR Technician (16 ACTAR CEUs)
Learn the basic functions of the Bosch CDR system to image data confidently from supported vehicles using the standard On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) Data Link Connector (DLC) ports and directly from the airbag control modules (ACM). CDR Technician also provides small-group guided instruction in data imaging, module location and identification with direct-to-module data imaging, practical booster and adaptor applications, and “back powering” vehicle systems to enable DLC data imaging.
Upcoming CDR Technician Courses
CDR Data Analyst
The longest-standing, industry-standard training program for Bosch CDR Data Analyst Certification! CDR Analyst is a natural extension of CDR Technician and also expands crash reconstruction skills. Provides students with detailed instruction in the assessing information from EDRs and its application to such traditional reconstruction techniques as momentum applications and understanding of delta-v and PDOF.
Find an Upcoming CDR Analyst Class
Preserving and Analyzing Information from Heavy Vehicle EDRs
This course is for those with experience in heavy vehicle and commercial vehicle crash reconstruction and emphasizes the importance of understanding the electronic control module (ECM) and the data it collects, as well as other sources of data and methods of data collection.
sUAS (Drone) Courses
sUAS FAA Knowledge Test Preparation
This course provides the foundation that students need to begin their preparation for the FAA sUAS knowledge test. When supplemented with out of class reading and self-study, students will be equipped with the knowledge to operate safely within the US National Airspace System.
Learn More about sUAS Test Prep
sUAS Crash Investigation Remote Pilot
This course prepares students who are new to flying a small UAS (unmanned aerial system, or drone) to use this technology to reliably capture the photographic and video evidence at a crash scene for subsequent photogrammetric evaluation.
Learn about our Remote Pilot Course
Crash Investigation and Reconstruction Aerial Photogrammetrist
This course prepares students to develop 3D models and orthomosaics from crash scene evidence captured using aerial and terrestrial photography. In this course students will work hands on with the Pix4DMapper photogrammetry modelling software.
Learn about Course Availability
Textbooks & Products
NUCPS's textbooks set the standard for crash investigators, attorneys, engineers and insurance adjusters around the world. Initially written by legendary traffic safety researcher and engineer J. Stannard Baker, Traffic Collision Investigation is now its 10th edition. Its companion, Traffic Crash Reconstruction, updated and expanded in 2010, uses real-world crash cases and mathematical formulas to help interpret how a crash occurred.
NUCPS also offers a variety of traffic templates and traffic crash report forms.
Visit the NUCPS Store >>
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Traffic Collision Investigation / Traffic Crash Investigation Book Set