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Are drones ready for their close-up 100 feet away?

In the short time following a car accident, personal injury lawyers and law enforcement with admittedly different agendas rush to the scene. Lawyers are trying to build a legal case while cops are working quickly to conduct much-needed investigations and subsequently clear the scene.

The days of tape measurements, wheel and chalk marks, other forms of “analog” investigation tools may become a thing of the past. A replacement is waiting in the “wings.” Drones that are currently performing more cutting-edge accident investigations in Illinois could be coming to the skies over the neighborhood near you.

Instead of photographs taken at eye-level, high-resolution images are captured 100 feet above the accident scene. All pictures taken are digitally “stitched” together. Using a 3-D computer model, investigators can determine the speed of the vehicles and any other aspects of the crash. In addition, the technology also allows them to get the driver’s point of view before the wreck in 3-D animation.

First tested in 2015, the drone’s literal “birds eye” view helps the police collect evidence following a crash more efficiently.

Speeding up investigations also helps reopen roads in less time than usual following serious crashes. The quicker tow trucks can remove vehicles, the faster that traffic and resume its flow. In addition, evidence gathering via drone could minimize or eliminate additional accidents caused by “gawkers.”

The elite team of suburban cops in Lake County took courses to qualify for and secure their aerial crash investigation license. They are currently one of a select few accident reconstruction squads in the country to use drone technology.

For accident victims, help in building a personal injury case may come from above, just shy of the wild blue yonder.

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