Brett asked in Cars & TransportationSafety · 10 months ago

How much damage would hitting a person at roughly 30-40mph do to a car?

I am writing a screenplay where one of the characters accidentally kills someone in a drink driving accident and I was wondering what kind of damage you would expect - the least amount of damage would be more helpful for the story, so if he hit them on the corner for example? The car would be an expensive one, so it could range from a Porsche, BNW or even a Range Rover.

Bonus question too: How long would it take to fix too? (I guess the answer to the above question will determine this...)


3 Answers

  • 10 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Assuming a sports car, or sports sedan (which would be the Porsche or BMW), struck a human adult (I'm going to assume weighing about 165 lbs, but in America that weight might be a little higher) at about 35 MPH, and assuming that it was perfectly centered on the car (offset were it would be more towards a headlight) it would definately destroy the valence cover (some refer to that as the bumper.  The crash bar underneath would be smashed in.  Airbag would NOT deploy.  The crash bar being caved in would definately cave in the condensor for the air conditioning, as well as the radiator.  The condenser is like a very thin fan that exchanges the heat from the A/C and allows the A/C to cool the passenger compartment.  The destruction of the condenser would vent the refrigerant into the atmosphere, so there would be a short, loud hiss with a big cloud of mist from the front of the car until the refrigerant was lost.  The radiator would continue to cool the engine until the coolant leaks out.  could also severely bend the radiator core support, a piece of sheet metal that bolts onto the body of the car, which holds the radiator in place.  On many cars, the headlights also bolt to the radiator support, so the mounting tabs for the headlights would also be broken.  So while the headlight lens might be intact, the headlight assemblies would have to be replaced anyways because they can no longer be secured to the vehicle.  Also severely damaged would be the grille, as well as the hood, and it's likely that the pedestrian would travel over the hood and strike the windshield, damaging that as well.

    Repairing the vehicle would depend on the method of repair.  The easiest and most simple way to repair would be to send it to a shop, which would take maybe a week, but that would also be the easiest and quickest way for the owner to end up in prison as law enforcement would likely send BOLO (Be On the Look Out) notices to repair shops for hundreds of miles asking for information on a vehicle of that description with front end damage.

    If I was a drunk driver, and I just plowed somebody under, and I didn't want to go to prison for manslaughter, I would probably try to repair it myself, and avoid involving anyone, including family.  I would used, a search engine for junkyards to source what I need to repair the car myself.  I would only pick junk yards that are at least 300 miles away, but ideally at least 500 miles away.  If I got a hood, or a grille, or a valence cover (bumper), and the colors did not match, I would take a picture of the RPO codes of the car (it's a sticker on the car that has the build information of the car when it was manufactured.  It has the VIN number, identifies how the car was assembled, such as Automatic or Manual transmission, engine type, accessories, such as automatic A/C or manual A/C, etc... and it also includes the code for the body color).  I would then go to a paint store with the picture, and ask them to mix that body color so that I could paint the car myself.  With overnight shipping, spraying the color on, plus some clear coat, it would also take about a week.  But I would need help replacing the windshield, as that is a two man job.

    If I was an investigator, investigating a hit and run fatality, I would identify the type of vehicle that was involved (witnesses, and surveillence video on the same road, plus any vehicle remains left on the road).  After that, I would send BOLO notices to salvage yards, repair shops and paint shops within 100 miles, and then extend it to at least 200 miles, and hope for a hit.  I would check out cars of the same body style within 10 miles, and maybe extend as far as 50 miles.  I would do so by visiting the addresses listed in the database of registered vehicles.  If I spotted one with front end damage, I would attempt to obtain a warrant, or consent from the owner to further inspect the vehicle.  I would attempt to determine time of death of the dead guy by using information from the Medical Examiner, as well as witnesses in the area, surveillance, and attempt to have phone companies release a list of cell phones that were in the area during the window of time in which the accident occured.  I would cross-reference that with the list of owners who that type of vehicle registered in their name.  I would also carry a Coating Thickness Gauge, which is a small tool, about the side of small flip phone, that when pressed against the paint of a car, measures the thickness of the paint on the car.  When a car is painted at the factory, the paint is of a uniform thickness, typically about 4 to 6 mils all the way around.  So if you measure 5 or 6 all the way around, the paint is likely a factory paint job.  But if you come to a spot where the paint is all of a sudden 10 mils, then that paint is likely repainted, because car manufacturers typically don't lay paint on that thick. That thickness cannot be measured by the human eye, but the gauge can check it, and because it's not an invasive test, no warrant is required.  The test would be inconclusive, but it would give an investigator a lead to work with if he determines that a car has had the front end repainted.

    Good luck with your story.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Several hundred thousand dollars.  People do not die instantly so by the time you GO TO COURT, YER FORKED.   People do not explode into a ball of flames like cars do (damn, watch TV. as the car hits AIR and explodes in most movies.)

  • Carson
    Lv 6
    10 months ago

    Depends on the car and the size of the person.

    A 1965 Cadillac a human body may bend the bumper. What that car is.made of is about 4 tons of Detroit Iron.

    The shape of thati car would probably knock them down, the car would run them over as opposed to flipping the body on the hood or bonnet of the car into the windscreen. The driver could go to a car wash and wash most of the evidence away.

    A 2020 Prius the car would sustain serious damage to the point of inoperablity.

    If you want to see someone get hit watch MEET JOE BLACK starring Brad Pitt and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

    Very early in the movie Pitt's character is hit by 2 NYC taxis. It ain't pretty.

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