Monday, March 19, 2018

Guardrails 101

Since shortly after the first automobiles rolled off an assembly line, guardrails, bridge rails, crash cushions, and other safety devices have been installed on roadways in an effort to improve the safety of the traveling public.  Just as automotive safety design has improved tremendously over the years, the design and application of roadside safety appurtenances has improved vastly as well.  State Highway Departments and the Federal Highway Administration were the original driving force behind many of these safety improvements, but over the last 30 years or so private industry has provided much of the innovation that has led to products which make the roads safer.  This is especially true with guardrail terminals.

The purpose of a guardrail is to shield motorists from natural or man-made obstacles located along either side of a traveled way.  An impact with a guardrail system should prevent contact with the hazard being shielded, and be less severe than an impact with that hazard.  A typical guardrail system is anchored on both ends, and when an errant vehicle impacts along the length of guardrail, tension is developed in the rail and the vehicle is redirected away from the hazard.  The ends of the guardrail system are potential problem locations, as a vehicle impacting an untreated guardrail end can be stopped abruptly resulting in high deceleration forces for the occupant, or the guardrail could penetrate the occupant compartment and cause serious injury.  In the early days these guardrail ends were left untreated, resulting in many vehicles being ‘speared’ with the guardrail during a collision.



Guardrail “Terminals” were eventually developed to improve the impact performance of the ends of the guardrail systems.  These terminals started out as basic as twisting the guardrails and anchoring it at ground level, and have evolved over the years to sophisticated “energy absorbing” terminals which capture the errant vehicle and bring it to a controlled stop.  The technology used for many of these modern guardrail terminals is proprietary, and are only available for purchase from the company owning rights to the patents.

Having worked for ten years designing and crash testing roadside safety appurtenances, Dr. Brian Pfeifer had the opportunity to lead the development of several of these lifesaving designs, and has seen first-hand the difference that this technology can make in the dynamics of a collision.   Of course, guardrails and guardrail terminals cannot be designed to safely bring vehicles to a stop under every impact condition, but they must be crash tested under specified impact conditions and approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration before they can be used in any projects using federal funds (a large majority of roadway projects receive at least some amount of federal funding). 

Even with all of this improved safety technology, people die as a result of impacts with guardrail terminals every day.  Some of these deaths are the result of extreme or unusual impact conditions, but many are the result of poor product design, improper terminal selection, or faulty installation.  If you have a case that involves these issues, it is very important to understand the role that the safety device played.  In order to understand these issues, it is important to involve an expert familiar with the design and operation of roadside safety devices early on in your investigation.

Please contact Brian Pfeifer, Ph.D., P.E. and our team of engineers and technicians and put our experience and expertise to work for you.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017 Donation on Behalf of BEC Consulting’s Clients

With the New Year upon us, we can’t help but remember all of those affected by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond as well as the wildfires out West.  We have made a donation to the American Red Cross on behalf of our clients to show our appreciation for your business.  

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with you over this past year.


Happy Holidays from all of us at BEC Consulting!  
May the New Year bring prosperity and peace to you all!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Retail Safety

One of the most common areas where there is an interaction of the public (non-employees) and a workplace is in Retail facilities. Here the retailer must be concerned with not only establishing and maintaining a safe workplace for their employees but they also have to be aware of creating a safe shopping environment for their customers (also called business invitees). The term “Retail Safety” implies that the concern is surrounding safety issues related the sale of merchandise.  The reality is that retail facilities have the same safety concerns that every work place has.  These hazards range from slip, trips, and falls, ladder safety, material handling issues, and potentially powered industrial trucks like forklifts.
OSHA, ANSI, and General Industry have long recognized the need for standards, rules, and guidelines to govern the safe operation of workplaces and this also includes Retail facilities. The questions come when assessing what applies to the employees and what applies to the customers. The truth is that the standards and guidelines for safe operations apply to everyone.  This is where you can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of an experienced engineer and a team that can identify the critical aspects of the event sequence and piece the puzzle together for you.  Please contact Traci Campbell, PE, CXLT and our team of engineers and technicians and put our experience and expertise to work for you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Forklift Safety

Forklifts are one of the most common pieces of material handling equipment in use today. You can find forklifts in warehouses, shipping yards, construction sites, and even retail facilities. As such, forklifts can be found interacting with everything in a workplace environment from storage racks, loading docks, tractor trailers, other heavy machinery and most dangerously, pedestrians. OSHA, ANSI, and General Industry have long recognized the need for standards, rules, and guidelines to govern the safe operation of forklifts. These authorities set forth the framework to have and maintain a successful and safe operating environment.


Whenever forklifts are involved in personal injury events, it is important to be able to sift through all the factors that played a role in what transpired. That’s where you can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of an experienced engineer and a team that can identify the critical aspects of the event sequence and piece the puzzle together for you.  Please contact Traci Campbell, PE, CXLT and our team of engineers and technicians and put our experience and expertise to work for you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Photogrammetry 101

Photogrammetry has been in use for centuries and for many different uses. The Tomahawk Cruise missile, for example, uses an advanced form of sophisticated photogrammetry to guide it to its intended target. Photogrammetry in accident reconstruction is used to supplement or verify existing scene measurements. It may also be used to create scene measurements when there were none taken on the date of the accident.  All, of course, are contingent on good, reliable photographs. In instances where little or maybe no measurements were taken at an accident scene where other evidence of significance was overlooked and may be visible in the scene photos the use of photogrammetry to place those pieces of significant evidence can mean the difference between determining if one has a case worth pursuing or not.
In this subject case the fluid spill became a significant piece of evidence, but had not been measure-documented at the time of the accident. Only photographic documentation (Fig. 1) was available. Knowing, however, some specifics about typical highway lane striping and utilizing a date-sensitive aerial photo, basic assumptions could be made about lane line separation and roadway widths. With these known physical characteristics the needed physical evidence could be placed on a scale diagram (Fig. 2) by a simple method of photogrammetry. At BEC Consulting we can use this simple method of photogrammetry to locate and diagram physical evidence for your cases that were not thoroughly and completely measure-documented at the time of the accident.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Position Filled!

BEC Consulting LLC, an established engineering firm in Tallahassee, FL with over 35 years in business, has the following immediate opening: 

Administrative Assistant - Full Time 


This is a terrific opportunity for an experienced, detail oriented applicant to work directly with our engineering teams in work involving forensic engineering, accident reconstruction and product liability analysis.


Position is responsible for coordinating directly with clients and team personnel to schedule appointments and travel, assist with project case management (for multiple concurrent projects) as well as complete general day to day administrative tasks.  


Requires 3 - 5 yrs related education/experience with proficiency in Office-Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  


Interpersonal and communication skills are essential. Experience working with insurance companies and legal practitioners a plus.


Individual should possess strong analytical skills, have the ability to work in a team environment, meet deadlines, strong computer skills and excellent written and verbal communication skills. 


Salary commensurate with education/experience and competitive benefit package. Non-smoker. Apply on line HERE or mail resume, salary requirements and work availability to: HR (Admin), 3660 Hartsfield Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32303 or Fax 850-575-8454. EOE/Drug Free Work Place.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

FARO 3-D Scanning

Portable 3-D scanners and software technology can be used in a variety of engineering applications.  The precise and detailed digital scans, which include high resolution photographs, deliver realistic and accurate three dimensional models, providing our consulting engineers with thorough details of accident scenes, vehicles, product designs and more.  These powerful graphics are used in the analysis of each case file and provide effective results and deliverables for our clients.

  • Detailed Digital Scans
  • High Resolution Photographs
  • Three Dimensional Models
  • Powerful Graphics