Trainer Finds Crash Zone Software Highly Intuitive

Neal Trantham, owner of Nebraska Accident Reconstruction, tried other diagramming software programs before deciding which one to use in the accident reconstruction classes he teaches. Trantham, who also is a law enforcement officer with the State of Nebraska, says students in his classes span a broad spectrum of talents and skills from young officers just beginning their careers to officers about to retire.

“My biggest challenge is making these classes interesting and keeping them flowing so people at both ends of the spectrum don’t feel the class is going too fast or too slow,” Trantham said. To maintain this ‘flow’ of instruction, Trantham chose The Crash Zone, from The CAD Zone, Inc. ( ). He felt The Crash Zone was the most intuitive to grasp of several drawing programs he surveyed, meaning students could be successfully creating diagrams very quickly.

A Drawing Program ‘Above All’

Trantham says he likes Crash Zone because it is above all, a powerful, yet easy-to-use drawing program. “It’s a drawing program first and then other bonus features are added to it,” he said. Trantham also appreciates The Crash Zone’s advanced features such as Animation Tools, 3D Body Poser, Skid Analysis and Momentum Calculation tools, a 3D Stair Builder, and the industry standard Vehicle Database, among other powerful features.


Neal Trantham brought an aerial photograph into Crash Zone and drew details of the crash on top of it.

Investigators who have been doing drawings with pencil and paper will appreciate The Crash Zone’s ease of use. Trantham notes, “By the time students come to us for Crash Zone training, they already have experience preparing hand-drawn scene diagrams. They are able to apply the same principles across the board when using The Crash Zone because the software is so intuitive.”

Features like the Coordinate Data Table and the Easy Lines Toolbox are designed to help the user turn their measurements into an electronic diagram in a way that is very similar to creating a hand diagram. You can even enter measurements that were taken using a baseline or triangulation procedure and The Crash Zone creates the points, lines, curves, and arcs for you, all with complete accuracy.

Training Movies and Documentation Another Advantage

The other aspect Trantham likes about Crash Zone is the extensive documentation and training movies that are included with the program. “These movies are topic-based,” Trantham said. “So, if students get stuck on a certain feature that they are trying to apply, they just click a button, watch a two or three-minute movie on that feature, and they are back diagramming. This has been really helpful,” Trantham said. All the movies are also available on The CAD Zone’s training Web Site, so if you do not have your program CD, you can log on and watch them there. (Click here to visit the CAD Zone’s Training Site.)

So far, Trantham has had excellent success with using The Crash Zone in his training classes. Students respond to it well and he knows they are applying it at their jobs. Students often send Trantham diagrams they have proudly created with Crash Zone for their own investigations.

“This shows that there is not a huge learning curve with the software,” Trantham said. Even after six months have passed since taking Trantham’s class, students, he said, still are able to pick up the software’s features and get a basic, scaled diagram completed.

Crash Zone Eliminates Diagramming Frustrations

It actually was a real crash investigation that prompted Trantham’s decision to go with The Crash Zone software. Trantham and some other investigators were working a motorcycle crash scene one night using a diagramming program that the state of Nebraska had adopted. The investigation team had not used the software for a couple of months. “We wanted to change the profile of the centerline of a road to a double yellow line on one side of the intersection and a dashed line on the other,” Trantham recalls. “It took an hour to figure out how to do this with the software we were using. I was so frustrated with this experience,” Trantham continued.

“Soon after that, I saw CAD Zone on a web search and ordered their demo CD. Upon getting it and loading the CD, within an hour I was diagramming, and I was able to create that double line and dash line within seconds!” From that time on, Trantham has used The Crash Zone for his own investigations and as the program of choice to teach students in his classes.

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