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Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit
Traffic Crash Reconstruction has been a part of the Michigan State Police (MSP) since the mid-1970's. The primary purpose of the reconstruction specialist is to determine as accurately as possible how a collision occurred using the physical facts and evidence available at the crash scene and application of the laws of physics.
There are several reasons why a detailed investigation of a traffic crash needs to be conducted. One is to determine if violations of law occurred and, if so, hold the driver accountable for those violations in criminal court. County prosecutors are greatly assisted in prosecutions resulting from fatal traffic crashes by the information provided by the reconstruction specialist. Another reason for a detailed investigation is prevention. Before one can attempt to prevent a traffic crash, one must first determine why crashes occur; and, in turn, one cannot determine why a crash occurs until it is determined how the crash occurred.
The Michigan State Police is the only law enforcement agency in the State of Michigan that is a participating organization within the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) and requires all departmental traffic crash reconstruction specialists to be accredited by that organization.
The primary responsibility of the reconstruction specialist is the investigation and reconstruction of traffic crashes and the providing of expert testimony in court. Requests for service come from State Police posts, county sheriffs, local police departments, county prosecutors' offices, and the state Attorney General's office. The reconstruction specialist assists the agency making the request for service. All original investigations and their responsibilities remain with the requesting agency. Reconstruction specialists also provide training in traffic crash investigation to local posts and units of government.