The History of ACTAR
In 1985, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided a grant to develop national guidelines for the standardization of training in the field of traffic accident reconstruction. A task force of accident reconstructionists, engineers, police officers, educators and attorneys met and developed a report entitled Minimum Training Criteria for Police Traffic Accident Reconstructionists. In that report, the task force addressed certification of individuals in the field and recommended that "a certification board be formed" to accredit accident investigators and reconstructionists.
Five years later, eleven professional accident reconstruction associations with world-wide representation met to explore the possibility of forming an internationally recognized accreditation program open to both police and civilian accident reconstructionists. The Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) was the result of that coalition. The Governing Board of Directors, comprised of one representative from each participating association, has included police officers, engineers, educators and private consultants all working in the field of traffic accident investigation and reconstruction within the United States and Canada.
ACTAR was founded by and exists for the benefit of the traffic accident investigation and reconstruction community, as represented by the membership of the participating professional organizations. The Commission has not been obligated to nor controlled by any governmental body or agency. Since its incorporation in 1991, it has been the ongoing goal of ACTAR to promote, within the legal and scientific community, a recognition of the minimum standards established by the NHTSA study, as well as those developed by an ongoing review of the latest technology and trends in the profession.
Minimum standards have been designed to advance the recognition of the ACTAR accreditation program, and in doing so, to encourage the integrity, consistency and professionalism of those involved in traffic accident investigation and reconstruction, to promote the professional and intellectual development of those individuals, organizations and institutions involved in traffic accident investigation and reconstruction, to assist the legal and scientific community in weighing the suitability of individuals offering their services as Accident Reconstructionists and to improve public awareness of the profession as it relates to the legal system.
By way of committee discussions of different aspects of accident investigation and reconstruction training programs, as well as review of other disciplines practicing in the field, the ACTAR Governing Board of Directors developed a formula for minimum training and experience requirements. Applying those minimum standards to a higher level of understanding and knowledge in the collision investigation and analysis field, the Governing Board of Directors created and refined a multi-part accreditation examination. That examination was reviewed by outside independent professionals in the testing field, as well as educators, to ensure an objective, clear and thorough examination.
Although participation in the accreditation program is voluntary, people who are properly trained and experienced in accident investigation and reconstruction can successfully complete the examination and achieve accreditation. Those accredited must obtain a minimum number of continuing educational units (CEUs) over a five year period from completion of the initial examination to maintain their status with ACTAR.