Heavy Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicle accidents are multifaceted and have distinct technical characteristics.  These events differ from automobile and light truck accidents due to the variety of vehicle configurations, increasingly available electronic data, characteristics of the mechanical systems, and regulations regarding cargo securement. Exponent’s heavy truck team consists of engineers with the knowledge and experience required to address the diverse and complex issues related to accidents involving commercial vehicles.

Rapid Response

We provide rapid response to truck accident scenes around the country, both to preserve the physical evidence and to provide an initial assessment to the client. Exponent uses state-of-the-art techniques to document crash site and vehicle physical evidence, including 3D laser scans, total station technology, photogrammetry, and other reliable methods of evidence collection and measurement.

ECM and EDR Data

Exponent’s heavy truck team members retrieve and analyze data from various Event Data Recorders (EDRs), including Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) on heavy truck engines, GPS/cellular-based tracking systems, collision avoidance systems, and antilock brake system (ABS) control modules, as well as airbag and powertrain control modules in automobiles and light trucks.

Accident Reconstruction

Exponent’s accident reconstruction engineers reach reliable and supportable conclusions by applying scientific principles to evaluate all the available evidence. Our engineers are educated and experienced in the analysis of heavy truck dynamics, including collisions, rollovers, jackknifes/yaw stability, handling, braking, and accelerating. Along with traditional analytical reconstruction techniques, Exponent’s engineers utilize state-of-the-art computer simulations to model heavy trucks and evaluate accident conditions and events.

Mechanical Systems Analysis

Our engineers inspect and analyze the mechanical systems of heavy vehicles in the field. This is done to review their compliance with state and federal regulations and to assess the mechanical condition and its effect on the vehicle’s performance. If further evaluation is required, a more detailed and comprehensive inspection and analysis of the truck systems and components can be conducted.

Cargo Securement

Exponent engineers analyze cargo securement methods for both compliance with federal regulations, as well as the performance of the securement systems during a dynamic event.

Full-Scale Vehicle Testing

In cases where full-scale heavy vehicle testing is required, Exponent has the facilities, professional staff, and experience to reliably and efficiently accomplish the task. Our Test and Engineering Center (TEC) in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for Exponent’s most technically challenging and complex tests. The 147-acre test facility includes a two-mile oval track, off-road test area, durability course, 10-acre skid pad, and a 1,280-foot crash rail, allowing engineers to assess vehicle handling and performance, understand the effect of component failure on controllability, and study collisions under nearly any conditions.


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