The Philadelphia Police Accident Investigation Division (AID) is responsible for documenting and preparing evidence for charges in traffic-related crashes and up to now, has been doing so with very limited resources. Philadelphia has 21 police districts and but only one division to investigate all 10,000+ traffic crashes that happen each year in the city.

Having supported AID’s work to better understand why traffic crashes occur and what can be done to stop them, we became aware that they lacked crash reconstruction technology — FARO 3D laser scanner  — a standard piece of equipment among police departments around the country. This, even though the relatively cheap technology would help reduce the time it would take to investigate crashes and bring more justice to victims of traffic violence.

You know what’s coming. After advocacy from the Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia, the Managing Director’s Office recently announced they had approved purchasing the FARO technology for the Accident Investigation Division. (Getting the word ‘Accident’ dropped from this Division’s name is also on our to do list).

FARO laser scanner is specifically designed for both indoor and outdoor measurements in industries such as Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Public Safety, and Forensics.

The device captures real-world information using 3D scanning in a range of environments reducing inaccuracy for investigative reporting.

As of today, in the City of Philadelphia, the number of total traffic-related fatalities is at 108 and 44 percent of the crashes remain pending or under investigation. In 2020, the total traffic fatalities were 152 deaths, 36 percent remain pending or under investigation.

Below you can view how the tech works.

This technology could be used to provide data about the 12 percent arterials and transportation corridors in the Vision Zero PHL high injury network, where 80 percent of traffic fatalities occur.

The data can and should also be used to redesign roads sections that have reoccurring traffic crashes in order to reduce them and hopefully reduce traffic fatalities.

Using a “stick on a wheel” to solve crashes is outdated, the PPD needs to invest in the FARO 3D laser scanner to keep people on wheels alive.

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