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7 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW HISTORY formity in crash data. The ANSI D-16 Manual on Classifica- tion of Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents (6) provides a vehicle The first National Conference on Street and Highway Safety damage classification scheme and defines what constitutes a in 1924 marked one of the earliest instances of federal interest crash. The ANSI D-20 Data Elements Dictionary (7) provides in motor vehicle traffic crashes. A result of this informal meet- the definitions of the most commonly used terms in crash ing of state representatives was the Uniform Vehicle Code reporting. These ANSI standards have been updated routinely that established a legal basis for investigating and reporting throughout the years. crashes. In 1946, the President's Committee on Traffic Safety asked states to begin developing a database of traffic crashes In 1975, NHTSA established the National Accident Sam- on which to perform future studies (2). At the federal level, pling System (NASS) and the Fatal Accident Reporting Sys- interest in crash reporting from 1924 to 1956 was mostly in tem (FARS) (8). NASS is a random sample of nationwide an advisory role. However, by 1955 there were 75 million crashes collected by crash investigation teams and FARS is registered drivers and 62 million vehicles, and the annual a census of crashes involving fatalities encoded by specially traffic fatality toll that year reached 38,000. trained analysts in each state. These two national systems have undergone changes over the years, but continue to pro- The next 10 years saw an increasing awareness of the vide a source of crash data to detect national trends. national scope of the crash problem and the need for federal leadership and financial aid to assist the states. By the mid- Late in the 1980s, FHWA established the Highway Safety 1960s, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported in excess Information System to collect crash and roadway inventory of 49,000 crash fatalities at an estimated annual societal data from selected states for research purposes (9). The High- cost of $3.5 billion. The NSC recommended that the federal role expand to include setting uniform standards and pro- way Safety Information System does not represent a statistical viding financial assistance to the states for safety programs. sample, but crash and roadway data are added to the system In addition, the NSC recommended that the states collect periodically to support various research studies. Generally, crash data in more depth and modernize their crash data col- state data files are not combined for analysis because there lection systems (3). is a lack of similarity in definitions and coding of various elements. The modern era of highway safety began with the passage of the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and continues to evolve Throughout the 1990s, numerous legislative and program- today. Section 402 of the Highway Safety Act required, among matic actions reflected heightened interest in traffic records other things, that states follow uniform standards, establish systems, including: an effective crash records system, and investigate crashes to determine probable cause. Section 403 of the act included The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act requirements to improve crash investigation procedures and (ISTEA) of 1991, passed by the U.S. Congress, which develop comprehensive crash data collection and analysis decreed that states establish a number of interrelated procedures (4). Based on this legislation, the U.S.DOT pub- information management systems to support their deci- lished standards to promote uniformity in the development of sion processes concerning the maintenance of their state crash records systems. Highway Safety Program Stan- roadway systems and efforts to improve transportation dard Number 10, Traffic Records, requires each state to estab- safety (10). lish and maintain a centralized system to collect crash data. It Several major programs that were undertaken by NHTSA further requires that states keep information concerning driv- to improve the quality and utility of police-reported ers, vehicles, and crashes in compatible files for ease in com- crash data including: piling statistics and analyzing crash data. This regulation also CADRE, Critical Automated Data Reporting Ele- lists minimum data requirements, such as the model and make ments (11), of the vehicle, to be included on the crash report form (5). CODES, Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (12), MMUCC (13), The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Sponsorship of an annual national conference on the approved two standards intended to promote national uni- use of traffic records data, and