Laser scanning technology from 3D Laser Mapping is helping the UK’s Hertfordshire Police to collect essential evidence for the investigation of road traffic collisions. In one example, after a collision on Watford Town Centre’s busy ring road, a complete view of the scene was collected in just 20 minutes. The scanning was conducted without the need for a full road closure whilst preserving the safety of officers conducting the scanning.
The RIEGL VZ-400, as used by Hertfordshire Police, collects millions of highly accurate measurements documenting an entire collision scene and its surroundings, including road layouts, markings and roadside furniture. From these individual point measurements a 3D computer model is generated for use by collision investigators and also, potentially, as evidence in court.
“The RIEGL laser scanner allowed for a survey of the entire scene in just 3 scans,” commented Matthew Hollingsworth, a Forensic Collision Investigator at the Beds, Herts and Cambs Collision Investigation Unit, “about 20 minutes including set up time!”
“This was a big time saving on conventional methods and was also considerably safer. By using the laser scanner we were able to set up scan locations on the footway. This meant we didn’t have to close the road and traffic could still use the highway, it also meant that officers were not standing in the carriageway with traffic passing around them.”
“Conventional methods would have required closures for longer,” continued PC Hollingsworth, “and also potentially re-visits to the scene to obtain further measurements of road layouts and markings. Using the laser scanner all the data we could potentially require for our investigations was captured at the initial scene visit.”
Hertfordshire Police purchased the 3D scanner following funding by the Department of Transport, together with National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) contributions. Since taking delivery of the VZ-400 from 3D Laser Mapping the device has been regularly deployed on the county’s roads. This specific example of a laser scanner deployment was a two vehicle collision at a cross roads on the busy Beechen Grove intersection of Watford Town Centre’s ring road.
“It is quite difficult to quantify the savings achieved through the use of the laser scanner, although in my opinion they are considerable,” concluded PC Hollingsworth. “In my view, on site time was greatly reduced and the amount of data captured, compared with conventional methods is vast.”
CONTACTS: Charlie Whyman, email@example.com, +44 (0)1949 838 004, www.3dlasermapping.com