Zurich Forensic Science Institute

FOR-UT

Accidents/Technology

It Doesn't Always Have to Be a Crime

Physical and transient evidence is not just useful for identifying offenders and solving crimes. The Accidents/Technology Department uses such evidence to determine the causes of accidents and reconstruct their circumstances and timeline.

Specialist Unit Areas of Expertise

The Accident Analysis Unit assumes evidential duties following traffic accidents, accidents in the workplace, air traffic accidents, etc. Relevant evidence might include traces of material transfers on safety belts (automobiles), the functional state of headlamps at the time of the accident, or traces of paint transfer left on vehicles involved in a crash.

The calculation of speed and braking distance is one of the standard duties assigned to the accident investigator. The laws of physics make it possible to reconstruct the circumstances of an accident and conduct collision analyses based on detailed surveys of the scene (photographs, photogrammetry, and scans).

The Electrical Engineering Unit is consulted when electrical sources or technical defects are suspected in the case of a fire or accident. Amateur electrical installations in particular are frequently the cause of electrical accidents with major consequences.

When Roman candles, firecrackers, and sparkler fountains are set off on August 1st, they have all been tested and screened by the Pyrotechnics Unit, which has the mandate of monitoring all pyrotechnic products destined for sale in Switzerland.

The Technical Development Unit's speciality is the development, testing, assessment, and evaluation of agents and materials utilised by law enforcement to protect against the effects of weapons. The unit also services and maintains special equipment (e.g. robots for bomb disposal) or designs them in order to operate custom-made devices.