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Introduction 11 efforts. This included National Transportation Safety Board reports that have identified the major contributors and, in some cases, the root causes of severe accidents. For each report, the evaluation looked at the "why" questions that were asked and how the information needed to answer the "why" questions was obtained. A summary of the literature review is presented in Chapter 2 of this report. 1.2.2 Survey of Agencies, Shippers, and Carriers To learn what quality control measures are being utilized, the project team surveyed agencies that maintain accident databases. Shippers and carriers also were surveyed to gain an under- standing of their accident investigation and reporting activities. Agencies were interviewed and questioned concerning the checks that are made to ensure data accuracy and completeness. These interviews are discussed in Chapter 3. In parallel with the discussion with federal agencies, the researchers asked shippers and carriers to address their ability to identify information that would answer "why" questions as well as their willingness to report that information. The results of these interviews also are summarized in Chapter 3. 1.2.3 Analysis of Databases The team next examined the major crash databases and identified fields that might provide answers to any of the "why" questions associated with identifying root cause. The analysis also included an assessment of data quality--an aspect deemed critical to an understanding of the root causes of hazmat crashes. The consideration of data quality includes both accuracy and completeness. Unless the data is of high quality, any root causes, even if they were reported, could be difficult to uncover. High-quality data enables the analyst to more easily identify trends and relationships; for example, a group of similar accidents, perhaps very severe accidents, can be analyzed for the most common root causes. Even with high-quality data, the results may not be adequate if the pertinent fields are not included in the database. The following major databases were included in this assessment: Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) managed by FMCSA. The data are compiled by the states from police accident reports (PARs) from serious crashes involving large trucks. Hazardous Materials Incident Reporting System (HMIRS) managed by PHMSA. The data- base only covers shipments of hazardous materials and is self-reported by carriers for the various modes. Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents (TIFA) managed by the University of Michigan Trans- portation Research Institute (UMTRI). The crashes are culled from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and supplemental data on the crashes are collected by a survey. Only fatal, large truck crashes are included, but data quality is very high. FARS managed by NHTSA. The database is designed to include fatal crashes involving any vehicle and is not restricted to trucks. Railroad Accident/Information Reporting System (RAIRS) managed by FRA. The data are reported by the carrier and the focus is just rail, although intermodal hazmat shipments are also covered. Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) managed by the Coast Guard. The dataset is limited to accidents involving an actual or potential violation of the law. Data are closely controlled by the Coast Guard. Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), a one-time, specific analysis managed by FMCSA and NHTSA. The database involved about 1,000 crashes and included Level I on-the- scene inspections.