The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) announced a new program that will involve the use of drones in crash investigations to help clear roads more quickly, saving drivers time and possibly preventing secondary crashes.
On August 9, NSP announced the drone program, which they say will allow troopers to clear crash sites more quickly while still conducting a thorough investigation.
“This is a major step for our team, combining new technology with the expertise already possessed by our crash reconstruction investigators,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “The goal of this program is to be able to clear crash scenes faster, while maintaining the high-level of investigations our troopers already perform. Clearing a scene faster means roads can open sooner, saving time and money for travelers and the trucking industry, and hopefully preventing secondary crashes.”
Drone operators will be required to complete the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 certification as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operators as well as specific training related to the use of UAVs in the 3D mapping of crash scenes.
NSP says that they currently have 19 certified drone pilots throughout the state and that the drones have already been used to investigate several recent crashes.
“This technology brings NSP crash investigations to a new level,” said Lieutenant Brent Bockstadter, program coordinator. “Our investigators work to create the best possible visual representation of a crash scene. The new drones, coupled with state-of-the-art mapping systems, allow our investigators to gather investigative images and data in less than half the time it used to take.”
While this is the first time that NSP has deployed drones for crash investigations, other law enforcement agencies have used them for some time for similar purposed. The Colorado State Patrol announced a similar drone crash mapping program in March 2021.