During the third week of Bristol's Citizens Police Academy, Patrolman George Lefebvre explained the use of tools in traffic enforcement and the usefulness of accident reconstruction.
According to statistics presented during the class, the leading causes of fatal accidents are speeding, driving under the influence and usage of cell phones (texting).
"Fatalities are definitely higher when speeding is involved," said Lefebvre, who pointed out that although speeding in a passenger vehicle is dangerous, speeding on a motorcycle is even more hazardous. "The bikes today can go so fast and everyone is out there just trying to have fun, but it can be very dangerous."
In attempts to deter people from speeding, police departments around the country use cameras, stationary radars and radar guns that can shoot out lasers or waves that can transmit and calculate the speed of a vehicle.
If police arrive on the site of an accident, obviously a radar gun is useless. But with the use of witness and driver testimony and the use of accident reconstruction methods, police can determine exactly what happened, down to the speed the vehicles were traveling.
"The car will tell you what happened in an accident," Lefebvre said. He explained that filament is contained in a light bulb that will move when the bulb is broken during an accident and will show the direction that the car moved.
Police will secure the area to preserve the scene after an accident to take photos and measurements of skid marks, location of the vehicles and debris. Accident reconstruction is not necessary for every accident, but the ability to do so is largely beneficial when it comes to severe accidents and can be of aid for insurance purposes.