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A Method for Determining and Presenting Driver Visibility in Commercial Vehicles

Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E. | Jeffrey K. Ball | David A. Danaher

Driver visibility from commercial vehicles is often an issue in post-accident litigation. While the visibility through the windows of most vehicles is restricted due to the required structure of the vehicle itself, most manufacturers and users incorporate a series of mirrors to enhance driver visibility and to reduce blind spots.

The challenge for an engineer is to first demonstrate what the driver could see to a reasonable degree of engineering certainty, and then to convey this information in a form that is easy for the lay person to grasp.

This paper outlines procedures for calculating and modeling the driver visibility from commercial vehicles. The primary techniques presented require access to the vehicle, although the paper also presents techniques by which visibility can be analyzed through photogrammetry and 3-D computer models, both for the vehicle and for any mirrors incorporated onto the vehicle.

Finally, this paper presents several techniques which have been used successfully to convey visibility information to adjusters and juries.

Published By

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2007-01-4232, 2007