Przybyla, J., Jupe, J., Rush, T., and Keller, R., "Glass Debris Field Longevity for Rollover Accident Reconstruction," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1427, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1427.
Vehicles involved in rollover crashes can leave debris trails which can include glass from broken windows. The glass patterns can be useful to identify the vehicles path during the rollover and the location and orientation of the vehicle at various vehicle-to-ground impacts. The location of glass, which is often window specific, can be used to identify where the window fractured during the rollover sequence. The longevity of the glass debris fields, subject to various real-world conditions and disturbances (i.e. slope, weather, mowing, soil type, etc.), was tested over a period of two years. The glass debris fields were placed and mapped in multiple locations across the United States. Periodically during each year, the glass debris fields were examined and the new field extents were mapped. The comparison between the original debris field and the subsequent debris fields are presented. At the completion of the research, the glass debris fields were collected and compared to what was initially placed at each location. This research concluded that a glass debris field remained in its approximate original location and can be relied upon as a source of accident reconstruction evidence for some time after the rollover occurred.