ATA vehicular accident reconstructionists April Yergin and Allen Vaughan, in conjunction with human factors expert Dr. Jeffrey Andre, have published an article titled "Using Civil Twilight Envelopes to Describe Commercial Trucks' Headlamp Illumination" in a recent issue of Collision Magazine.

This article discusses quantifying the useful headlight throw distance of commercial trucks at night

ATA Marine Cases Featured on TV Investigatory Report

Two personal watercraft cases that ATA Associates were hired on as reconstruction experts were featured on Washington D.C.'s NBC affiliate as part of their investigative report on personal watercraft testing and safety practices. Their findings highlight some of the misgivings they have regarding the lack of government oversight currently involved in the testing of watercraft sold to the general public. They also raise concerns about the testing practices and oversight within the boating industry itself. Three of the installments are featured below:

Boating Accidents Reveal Dangerous Practices

Accident Prompts Changes in Boating Industry

Safety Experts Concerned About Boating Industry Regulations

Using Stuntmen in Accident reconstruction - Seeing is Believing

The kinematics of the human body are complex, and our reflexive movements can sometimes be surprising. These realities present challenges to the accurate analysis and modeling of bodily motion in the reconstruction of certain types of accidents. For that reason, for over 25 years ATA Associates has utilized the services of professional stunt men and stunt women in the reconstruction of certain accidents. Observing and documenting an accident re-enactment with one or more live subjects involved is often the best way, and sometimes the only way, that a complex accident can truly be understood. The use of professional stunt people allows accident sequences to be demonstrated in a safe and responsible manner, and the resulting visualization may be the key not only for the jury to understand but also for the technical reconstructionist to really understand the complex interaction of humans and objects in an accident.

Stunt people are a unique breed of professionals. Typically, they combine an outstanding level of athletic skill and conditioning with years of training and experience in the more technical aspects of their craft. They thoroughly plan and choreograph the various aspects of a stunt before attempting it, but even then they may ultimately rely on their training, quick wits and reflexes to adapt to and respond safely to unexpected situations.

In the course of formatting testing scenarios over the past four decades, ATA has developed a relationship with The Houston Stuntmen's Association (HSA),a resource that boasts a highly skilled group of professional stunt players with extensive experience in a variety of venues.

Click on the link below to view a video of ATA testing sequences featuring the use of stuntpersons:
Stunt Persons in Action for ATA

ATA reconstructions utilizing stunt professionals have included:

- Product Malfunctions
- Slips and Falls
- Vehicle Occupant Dynamics
- Auto/Truck Collisions

- Pleasure Boat Accidents
- ATV Mishaps
- Vehicle/Pedestrian Accidents
- Night Lighting Hazards

ATA Associates Discusses New Jersey Transit Train Accident

On September 29,2016, ATA Associates’s CEO, Robert Swint, was interviewed by NPR correspondent David Schaper on the New Jersey Transit train crash.

ATA Associates is a forensic engineering firm that reconstructs accidents such as the Hoboken crash. Swint told David that so far he suspects — depending on what other evidence comes to light — that the trains operator was somehow incapacitated.

Swint also indicated that the train involved would have black box data recording that would identify what the rail unit and engineer operators were doing prior to the crash; that Hoboken Terminal surveillance cameras would be used to determine train speed and possible mechanical problems; that it was too early in the investigation to determine the cause or causes of this accident; that positive train control if implemented on the train could have aided in the prevention of this accident; that accidents involving trains striking bumper stops have occurred for over 100 years.

Swint added, "Whether it was inattention, fatigue, illness ... this is something that operators are trained to do. Coming into a rail station is one of the most sensitive things you do — you come in slow."

Visit ATA’s website for more information on railroad accident reconstruction.

Amusement and Water Park Rides - Balancing Thrills and Safety

ATA Associates recognizes the evolution occurring within the amusement and water park industry. The number of visitors to U.S theme parks and water parks has grown at an annual rate of about 4% over the last several years to well over 300 million persons per year. To compete for this growing pool of customers and to satisfy ardent ride enthusiasts’ hunger for new thrills, parks have introduced a new generation of rides, some of which feature vertical drops of over 200 feet and speeds in excess of 70 mph

A rash of recent amusement park mishaps, most notably the well-publicized August fatality on the Verrückt ride at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn water park, suggests that escalating thrill technology must be accompanied by a proportional effort in safety technology and procedures if park patrons are to be protected. Nowhere is it more important for equipment and procedures to be right than at the machine/human interface between the ride and the rider. The rider’s height, weight, strength, stamina and possible physical or mental limitations all must be anticipated and planned for, not only in the design of the interface but also in the development of critical procedures such as rider loading and securement which occur there.

ATA Associates, Inc. has been involved with safety analysis and performance testing of rides at amusement parks and water parks for over 30 years. Also lending expertise in testing, instrumentation, inspection and analysis to support proactive amusement park safety programs across the USA. For more information, visit our website.

ATA Associates Expands Its Maritime Resources

ATA Associates announces the expansion of its offshore/maritime industry resources supporting litigation for domestic and international cases in the admiralty and maritime legal arenas.

  • Accident Reconstruction
  • Collision Investigation
  • Environmental Impact and Remediation
  • Cargo Damage
  • Hull and Machinery Failures
  • Marine Design

Veteran maritime expert Sal Litrico recently joined the ATA team, enhancing our expertise and service capabilities. One area the team will focus on is the recent incident involving the sinking of the merchant vessel "El Faro" during Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahama coast. All hands, (thirty-three lives) were lost at sea in this most tragic event. This case will test the boundaries of "limits of liability". (See the Jones Act of 1920).

ATA Associates has been providing expert witness and litigation services for marine, maritime and offshore industries for over 40 years. For a more detailed look at our background and activities, visit our Maritime Services web page.

ATA Associates, Inc. Donate Their Audio/Visual Expertise at the 2016 DPS Challenge

ATA staff members brought their cameras and video equipment to document the 2016 Texas Challenge Inspector's Challenge in Corpus Christi, Texas. This event took place June 20 - 23rd, 2016 and was the 24th annual DPS sponsored competition of this kind. It featured various vehicle inspection contests in which selected law enforcement personnel from all over the state are timed and checked for accuracy.

These competitions include Level I inspections, Hazmat Non-bulk inspections, PVI Inspections and Hazmat Cargo Tank inspections as well as written tests. Out of 73,000 Law Enforcement Officers in the state of Texas, only 22 of the best qualified to compete. Sixteen DPS Inspectors plus six Police Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies were challenged in the competition.

The grand champion was Trooper Jeremy Usener, of Colorado City, and Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspector Jose Najera, of El Paso, was the runner-up. In the division open to other law enforcement, the grand champion was Corporal Rommel Garcia of the Houston Police Department, and the runner-up was Officer Greg Parker of the Grand Prairie Police Department. Usener and Garcia will move on to the 2016 North American Inspectors Championship in Indianapolis from Aug. 8-12.

Beyond the competitions, this event also serves as something as a commercial transportation conference in that it always proves to be a great way for police and trucking people to get together to learn from each other and discuss better and safer ways to serve the public.

Look for the slideshow of activities over the this event on ATA’s YouTube Channel.

ATA Associates Engineer Presents Program at International Tire Conference

“Examining Tire Related Vehicle Performance in the Context of Civil Litigation”

Edward Fritsch, P.E., Senior Staff Mechanical Engineer at ATA Associates, Inc. gave a ninety minute presentation entitled “Examining Tire Related Vehicle Performance in the Context of Civil Litigation” at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, September 20th.

The presentation reviewed the process of developing technical evidence and opinions for litigation and the admissibility tests for evidence as well as insights into the differences between legal and scientific points of view concerning the development and presentation of evidence.

The remainder of the presentation focused on tire and wheel performance issues that were raised in four lawsuits in which Mr. Fritsch was involved as a test engineer for ATA Associates, Inc. All of the cases discussed had either reached a jury verdict or were settled out of court, which allowed the technical aspects of the cases to be discussed in detail.

The presentation was well attended and audience interest was high. A question and answer period followed the presentation and the questions were well directed.

Cost Saving Measures in Accident Reconstruction

With over 40 years of experience in forensic engineering and accident reconstruction, our goal is to deliver the finest products and services available. Our clients trust us with their toughest cases from start to finish. We realize that predicting the course of a case can often be difficult. Keeping this in mind, ATA Associates has implemented an approach to accident reconstruction specifically designed to lower litigation costs: Back to the Basics Preservation.

Back to the Basics Preservation offers clients the opportunity to collect and preserve crucial evidence in the initial investigative activity. The data collected is selected so that detailed analysis can be completed in the future if required. Years of experience have allowed ATA to outline services necessary to best serve our clients and their best interests. The method of collection minimizes the initial investigation costs and maximizes the quality of collected data.

ATA has long advocated the necessity of quick response and appropriate evidence preservation. We are committed to helping our clients protect the integrity of their cases while saving resources.

We CAN strategize together to identify your most immediate and important engineering needs.

We have developed a Back to the Basics list of information recommended for collection in an initial investigation. Email us at: ata@ataassociates.com for your copy.


Visit our website at:

www.ataassociates.com or contact us at: 281-480-9847

FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D

ATA Associates has added a new weapon to our accident reconstruction arsenal— the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D.

Described on the FARO website as “a revolution in 3D laser scanning,” this equipment will streamline ATA’s documentation of accident scenes. Using laser technology, the FARO creates highly detailed and accurate images of complex environments in just a few minutes.

Some FARO facts which influenced our purchasing decision include:

Efficiency: The long range of up to 120m, the level sensor, the compactness and ease of use and auto-registration at no extra cost result in up to 50% saving of scan and processing time compared to conventional laser scanners.

Precision and speed: The Focus3D creates a precise, virtual copy of reality in millimeter-accuracy at a blazing speed of up to 976,00 measurement points per second.

That being said, we now have the capability of measuring crush damage in minutes instead of hours and with millions of data points instead of hundreds. This scanner will capture all aspects of the vehicle including scratches, paint transfers, and contact damage all in 3 dimensions. We can also scan sites quicker and more accurately without missing any evidence because the scanner does not pick and choose the points it takes, it just takes them all.

This piece of equipment will revolutionize the way we gather scene and evidence data that can later be used to create realistic and accurate analysis and exhibits.


Visit our website at:

www.ataassociates.com or contact us at: 281-480-9847

ATA Associates is pleased to announce commencing work on our 5,000th engineering case.

Houston, TX (Vocus PR) January 25--Thirty-eight years ago Bob Swint, Founder and CEO of ATA, was hired to investigate a boating accident that occurred on Clear Lake in the Houston, Texas area. As the Chairman of the NASA Shuttle Avionics Integration Panel, Swint was identified as an expert in display and control systems.

“I was asked by a local attorney,” said Swint, “to take a look at the stick steering on a bass boat that had been involved in an accident. Almost 40 years and thousands of cases later, my job is still a labor of love. Every day brings a new problem for ATA and its staff to solve.” From inauspicious beginnings, ATA has grown from a one-person shop into a powerhouse in the forensic engineering community. “One of our first noteworthy cases was the Texas State Capitol Fire in 1983. We were brought in by the Attorney General to do a fire cause and origin investigation,” said Swint, “Little did I know thousands of interesting and complex cases were to come.” From the worst bus accident in Texas history in 1989 where 21 children drowned when their bus was hit by a truck and fell into an excavation pit; to the deadliest Amtrak derailment in 1993 which resulted in 47 deaths, ATA Associates has investigated hundreds of high profile transportation accidents. Active involvement in the Phillips disaster and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988 and Hoechst Celanese explosion in 1987, cemented ATA’s place in industrial and petrochemical accident analysis. ATA is pleased to currently be working with Cameron on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Swint. ATA Associates’ forensic engineers have brought their considerable skills to solving difficult cases for our legal, insurance and corporate clients--cases like the Ford Explorer rollovers and Firestone tire tread separations in the 90s and Toyota’s current sudden accelerations issues. “One of the most rewarding things about the work we do at ATA is that we can affect change. Much of our work has resulted in improved safety standards and laws.”

For additional information contact Lisa Swint at 281-480-9847 or swintl@ataassociates.com.

About ATA Associates, Inc.

ATA Associates is a leading provider of forensic engineering, accident reconstruction, product failure analysis and technical consulting services. ATA does it all with a level of expertise and integrity unparalleled in our field. In fact, ATA Associates has provided expert witness services to defense and plaintiff attorneys for over 30 years earning a level of credibility unsurpassed in the industry.