Pedestrian Vaults: Humans Going Ballistic

Pedestrian Vaults: Humans Going Ballistic

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Pedestrian Vaults:  Humans Going Ballistic
by George M. Bonnett, JD

The pedestrian vault: complicated and controversial – the perfect topic for examination. It sometimes seems that everyone involved with crash reconstruction has discovered a formula or formula variant computing pedestrian vault speed and there are at least a half-dozen computer programs that primarily deal with pedestrian and/or bicycle vaults. In this article, Pedestrian Vaults: Humans Going Ballistic, George Bonnett offers you a solution to simplify the process. 

Reconstructionists are aware that for any given launch angle and friction coefficient between the pedestrian and the surface over which he or she is sliding, the vault and slide components of the pedestrian vault are tied to each other. If the launch angle and surface friction are known for any given throw distance, then solving for the vault speed of the pedestrian is simply a matter of doing the mathematics. If the throw distance is kept as a constant, then the only way the eighty plus currently published pedestrian formulae can arrive at different solutions is by varying either the launch angle or the friction factor of the pedestrian. And as every pedestrian vault formula requires an input of the friction factor, the only remaining variable is the launch angle.

Because this fundamental relationship is based on physics principles, the only real difference between all of the existing pedestrian formulae is the assumed launch angle. If a launch angle is known or assumed, the solution can be found using four basic equations found in any physics book. The author shows you how to work through the process step-by step to arrive at the correct solution to a sample problem. He then goes on to demonstrate the use of Finite Difference Analysis to solve for the uncertainty value of the computations.

George Bonnett is a combat proven Marine Corps aviator turned police officer turned attorney turned crash reconstructionist turned software developer and author (REC-TEC). His whole life has depended on minute attention to detail. In this article, he gives you the benefit of his years of experience.

Specifications: 20 pages; 8½”x11"; saddle stitched; Publisher: IPTM (October 2005)

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