America’s love affair with the automobile is a connection among many generations of Americans. This is due in large part to the innovation of the automobile and how the automobile transformed the American landscape. Also, and without question, the automobile is tied to a fundamental bond of what it means to be an American…..Freedom.
Unfortunately, this unique rite of passage comes with degrees of risk. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, traffic fatalities account for 38,000 deaths every year in crashes on U.S. roadways. Also, an additional 4.4 million individuals are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. Sadly, these crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54 and create an economic and societal impact of road crashes costs U.S. citizens $871 billion annually.
Add the factor of the impaired driver and the impact is inconceivable when you think about the needless loss of life happening upon the roadways of America. According to the Center of Disease Control, in 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1 Of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1 In 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.2 That’s one percent of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (figure below). Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.3
With these numbers, law enforcement officers across this great Country who are tasked to investigate motor vehicle crashes encounter potential complex crime scenes each time they arrive at a crash scene. Law enforcement officers soon discover these types of investigations may require officers to wear many hats in pursuit of the truth. Also, an officers’ willingness to collaborate with allied agencies may be in order to bring justice to victims and their families and to hold the negligent accountable.
This vehicular homicide investigation webinar series was designed to help strengthen skills used and needed during the three critical stages of a vehicular homicide investigation, i.e., on-scene management, forensics, and prosecution.
In the second installment, entitled Forensics is Our Friend. Master Corporal Schultz enlists the assistance of Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor Ron Mueller of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Both Master Corporal Schultz and Analyst Mueller discuss the positive and negative lessons learned regarding the importance of on-scene evidence collection and how time and missed opportunities will negatively impact these types of investigations, especially when it pertains to hit and run investigations. Also, Analyst Mueller will discuss both myths and limitations of what can be learned from on-scene evidence once it has been analyzed.
This webinar is part of a series:
- Sept 23: On-Scene Investigation
- Oct 26: Forensics is Our Friend (this webinar)
- Dec 2: The Prosecution Rests
The American Society of Evidence–Based Policing is a non-profit organization started by working police officers designed to drive the national conversation towards ensuring that the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm, and improve community wellness.