ACT News


Telltale signs yield secrets to Prang Gang

THE CRACKS in the car windscreen, still matted with clumps of hair and blood, spoke volumes to Senior Constable Graeme Cooper.

The officer was called this year to a crash on Hindmarsh Drive, where a pedestrian had been hit by a car, smashing her head into the windscreen.

The scene would have looked serious, possibly even fatal, to the untrained eye.

But Constable Cooper's training and experience with the expert Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Team told him differently.

He could tell the victim was likely to live from the exact point where her head hit the windscreen.


''Having looked at it, the actual point of impact itself was removed from any of the edges of the windscreen,'' Constable Cooper said.

''That's a good thing because the closer you get to the edge of the windscreen, the harder the frame, so therefore it's more likely to cause injury to the pedestrian,'' he said.

This detailed, intricate knowledge of crash scenes is standard for all members of the Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Team, known inside the force as the Prang Gang.

The team are put through specialist training in overseas universities and internal education programs.

The level of detail involved in the crash team's investigations can be mind-boggling.

Tyre marks, for example, can be used to determine whether a car has gone into a bend too fast.

Those marks, known as critical speed yaw marks, are distinctive, and their arc can be measured to determine an exact speed.