The Office of Research and Engineering provides technical support to accident investigations and conducts safety studies that examine safety issues in all modes of transportation. Four divisions carry out the work of this office.
The Safety Research Division
The Safety Research Division prepares safety reports based on analyses of transportation accident data, which are used to determine factors common to a series of events and to identify safety improvements or evaluate the worth of transportation-related devices or policy. The division also provides statistical expertise to support the analytical projects of the Safety Board.
The Vehicle Performance Division
The Vehicle Performance Division provides specialized aeronautical and mechanical engineering, biomechanics, and accident reconstruction support for investigations. The division uses computational and visualization technology to provide accurate time-motion histories, computer simulations, and video animations of accident scenarios and determines vehicle and occupant motion and the underlying causes of that motion.
The Vehicle Recorder Division
The Vehicle Recorder Division extracts, formats, and analyzes data from a wide variety of recording devices, both undamaged and damaged, including: aircraft flight data and cockpit voice recorders; recorders installed in locomotives, large ships, highway vehicles; as well as other electronic devices with non-volatile memory. The division also examines recorded electronic audio and video information from aircraft, ship, train, support communication systems, and personal electronic devices.
The Materials Laboratory Division
The Materials Laboratory Division provides materials engineers to examine parts and wreckage from accidents involving all transportation modes. Staff performs expert multi-disciplinary engineering and scientific analyses to determine if the performance of materials and structures in accident conditions is related to the cause or severity of an accident.
Medical Investigation Staff
Medical staff advise the Board on all biomedical aspects of investigations, including pathology, toxicology, human performance, and biomechanics.