Once associated with spying and various military applications, drones today have a multitude of civilian applications that range from taking panoramic pictures to delivering packages.
Thanks to recently relaxed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensing regulations enacted this past August, law enforcement have discovered yet another use for drones. No longer limited to tape measures and wheel and chalk markings, motor vehicle accident investigations and reconstruction have gone high tech.
Pictures captured from a drone (valued at $2,500) flying no more than 100 feet over the crash site are fed into a software program. That technology stitches together those images to create a three-dimensional computer model of the accident scene. Investigators can then take measurements to determine speed and other elements that caused the crash.
For those injured in these accidents, this high-tech evidence collection can help identify negligence for personal injury lawsuits and criminal cases. Something as small as fluid trails of brake fluid or antifreeze can provide a clearer picture of the initial impact.
Taking drone images from above can also speed up accident reconstruction. Shaving down an hour or two may not seem significant. However, it does allow tow trucks to remove vehicles faster, reducing the chance of gawker accidents and allowing normal traffic flows to resume.
As with anything drone-related, privacy issues become an immediate concern. The American Civil Liberties Union wants to ensure that the only images taken are from the accident site. The group also cites the need for warrants for lawful consent before using a drone for accidents occurring on private property.
Using advanced technology allows investigators to attend to every detail of a crash. A personal injury attorney with that evidence in hand can make the difference in securing the compensation accident victims need.