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22 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis and proposed solutions. These considerations are addressed, in turn, in the following discus- sion. It should be noted that a disproportionate number of prior studies has focused on the truck mode. However, where other modes have been considered, the findings and implications are remarkably consistent. 2.3.1 Data and Analysis Problems As early as 1981, there was acknowledgement that analyzing transportation safety using empir- ical accident data was problematic. Beginning then, and continuing to the present time, numerous studies have cited the following five basic problems: 1. Inconsistent reporting practices within and across regions, 2. Non-reporting of reportable accidents, 3. Missing information in accident report records, 4. Inaccurate information included in accident report records, and 5. Data elements needed for root cause analysis not appearing on the report form. A variety of reasons have been provided for why these problems exist, most notably Low law enforcement priority of data collection at the accident scene when compared with protecting public safety; Lack of understanding of how to complete an accident report involving vehicles hauling hazardous materials due to the low frequency of filling out these reports for police and many carriers; Reliance on manual data entry; Different reporting forms used by entities to serve different interests; and Disagreement or misunderstandings regarding the definition of terms. Whatever the case, until these problems are adequately resolved, the ability to perform highly effective root cause accident analysis will be compromised. 2.3.2 Solutions Being Implemented or Under Consideration Fortunately, the literature also contains suggestions and indications that some progress is being made in addressing data quality problems. Among the strategies being implemented or under consideration are the following: Posting available accident data on the Internet for review and feedback regarding its authenticity; Designing standardized accident reports toward a goal of more uniform data collection; Making extensive use of electronic data entry; Using visualization technologies to more precisely locate where an event occurred; Having data collection requirements influenced by available root cause analysis methodologies (e.g., HFACS, Haddon Matrix); Using sampling techniques to target certain types of accidents; Including common identifiers in complementary accident databases so as to integrate key causal information while avoiding duplication of effort; and Providing better training for law enforcement officials and other data entry personnel to enable them to collect and process information in a consistent, complete, accurate, and more timely manner. Many of these strategies offer considerable potential, and are among those that were given careful consideration in the hazmat root cause analysis study.