Dirk E. Smith

Senior Vice President, Transportation and Products Division / Ph.D., P.E., ACTAR / Houston


Dr. Smith completed his Ph.D. at Purdue University, where his research area was vehicle dynamics and control. He has taught courses in machine design, vibrations, and vehicle dynamics. Dr. Smith's research, engineering, and consulting backgrounds have provided him with experience in machine design, vibration analysis, vehicle dynamics, accident reconstruction (including cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and construction vehicles), and data acquisition. In addition, he is the author of several conference and journal papers.

Dr. Smith has reconstructed accidents involving commercial tractor/trailers, high-speed fatality collisions, daytime and nighttime pedestrian accidents, car-bicycle and car-motorcycle collisions, vehicle rollovers, low-speed collisions and construction vehicles and machines for biomechanical analysis. He evaluates traffic signal timing relating to intersection collisions. He also has experience on product liability cases involving vehicle systems, playground equipment, scaffolds, ladders, personal watercraft, and machine components. He has testified in both state and federal courts.

Representative Engagements

  • Single- and multi-vehicle collision reconstructions with a concentration on commercial vehicles
  • Evaluation of loading of commercial vehicles relative to falling loads and rollovers
  • Commercial and passenger vehicle mechanical evaluations regarding accident causation
  • Evaluation of commercial vehicle and driver out-of-service conditions based on DOT requirements
  • Reconstructed motorcycle collisions and rider reactions (Dr. Smith is an avid motorcycle rider)
  • Evaluation of motorcycle axle design at issue in motorcycle fatality accident
  • Evaluation of automotive floor jack to determine if jack failed
  • Evaluation of ambient lighting conditions, visibility and filament analysis for nighttime collisions
  • Mechanical failure analysis of equipment and consumer products that resulted in property or personal injury
  • Evaluation of off-road vehicles and accidents
  • Analysis and reconstruction of accidents involving construction vehicles and machines


  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
  • M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California
  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
  • Registered Professional Engineer
  • Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionist, ACTAR #985