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
Crash Investigation 1 introduces the concept of crash investigation. Based on J. Stannard Baker's world-renowned text, Traffic Crash Investigation, 2014 Edition, Crash 1 offers an in-depth study of the skills needed to investigate a traffic crash, thoroughly covering the techniques for recognizing and properly recording roadway and vehicle crash evidence. Students learn measure and photograph crash scenes and to create sketches and after-crash diagrams. Crash 1 also addresses how collected data are used to reconstruct crashes, 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 the crash scene and of the proper techniques for collecting and initiating interpretation of that information. This course covers the use of laser-based measurement devices to measure crash scenes and evidence and instructs in downloading electronic information into mapping programs.
Upcoming Crash 2 Courses
Math and Physics Workshop for Crash Reconstruction
This workshop provides a review of the mathematical and physics formulas and concepts that are used in Vehicle Dynamics and reconstruction-related courses and is designed for those who may have studied algebra, trigonometry and basic physics, but have not used that knowledge for years.
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.
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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.
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Traffic Crash Reconstruction Courses
Vehicle Dynamics introduces the laws of physics and mechanics that relate to traffic crashes and prepares students for NUCPS crash reconstruction courses.
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1 (73 ACTAR CEUs)
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1 students learn the skills needed to determine how a crash likely occurred. The course focuses on analyzing and interpreting information that has been collected at lower levels of investigation in order to describe the crash and the events leading to actual impact in as much detail as possible.
Traffic Crash Reconstruction 2 (35 ACTAR CEUs)
In Traffic Crash Reconstruction 2, the investigator further explores the techniques for reconstructing traffic crashes and acquires even more advanced skills through the analysis of real-world case studies including motorcycle, pedestrian and truck collisions.
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.
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 electronic data recorders, LED or HID vehicle lights, ABS brakes and 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.
Upcoming ACTAR Exam Dates
NUCPS strongly encourages all crash reconstruction students to pursue ACTAR accreditation. The final step in the process is the accreditation examination. The exam is offered several times per year in the US and around the world.
Upcoming US test dates and locations include:
- Oct. 7, 2019: Springfield, IL
- Oct. 9, 2019: Eugene, OR
- Oct. 11, 2019: Atlantic City, NJ
- Oct. 15, 2019: Round Rock, TX
- Oct. 18, 2019: Golden, CO
- Nov. 8, 2019: Gettysburg, PA
- Nov. 22, 2019: Latham, NY
- Dec. 10, 2019: Blythewood, SC
- Dec. 14, 2019: Millersville, MD
- Dec. 16, 2019: Lake Zurich, IL
- Jun. 14, 2020: Altoona, IA
Learn about the accreditation process on the ACTAR website.
Advanced Crash 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.
Heavy Vehicle Crash Reconstruction (39 ACTAR CEUs)
This course examines the unique characteristics of how heavy vehicles, specifically including articulated vehicles, perform in various crash scenarios. Areas of emphasis include assessment of truck braking systems, event data recorders, tachygraphs and gear positions.
Pedestrian/Bicycle Vehicle Crash Reconstruction (40 ACTAR CEUs)
Crash reconstructionists understand that the human body will behave differently than another motor vehicle when struck by a motor vehicle. Vehicle-pedestrian/bicycle crashes often result in severe injuries to the pedestrian or rider. Accuracy is especially important when investigating and reconstructing crashes involving these types of collisions. In Pedestrian/Bicycle Crash Reconstruction, students learn the mathematical equations to model such collisions and the appropriate formulas for varying crash scenarios.
Advanced Crash Reconstruction Utilizing Human Factors Research
This advanced crash reconstruction course focuses on the driver and/or pedestrian involved in a traffic crash as it is often a decision, action, inaction or other behavior by a human that is a key to learning how and why a crash occurred.
Event Data Recorder (EDR) Courses
CDR Technician (16 ACTAR CEUs)
This course exposes the CDR system user to the basic functions of the Bosch CDR system so that, at a minimum, the user can confidently image data from supported vehicles using the standard On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) Data Link Connector (DLC) port and, in most cases, directly from the airbag control module (ACM). The course also includes offers 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.
Vehicle Systems for the CDR Technician
This course offers the experienced CDR user in-depth exposure to, and improves understanding of, the various vehicle system components, their locations and what may be monitored by various vehicle computers and systems.
CDR Data Analyst
This course provides detailed instruction in the assessment of information from the Event Data Recorder and its application to such traditional reconstruction techniques as momentum applications and understanding of delta-v and PDOF.
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.
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.
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.
Textbooks & Products
NUCPS's textbooks set the standard for crash investigators, attorneys, engineers and insurance adjusters around the world. Traffic Collision Investigation is the 10th edition of the volume initially written by renowned engineer and traffic safety researcher J. Stannard Baker and continued by many faculty members who have taught at NUCPS. 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.
We also carry a variety of traffic templates and traffic crash report forms.
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Traffic Collision Investigation / Traffic Crash Investigation Book Set