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36 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis provide information that can be used to develop more effective regulations. Note that the data- base was never designed to identify contributing and root causes of accidents. 4.1.8 Data Collection Data collection for MCMIS is a complex process that begins with the police officer filling out and filing a PAR. These reports are compiled and sent to the appropriate state agency, where a determination is made of whether an accident involving a truck, light vehicle, or bus also met the crash severity definition and should be reported to FMCSA. For it to be classified as serious--and therefore reportable--the crash must either have resulted in a fatality, required that someone be transported to a remote facility for emergency medical treatment, or required that one of the vehi- cles involved in the crash had to be towed from the scene. Once it has been determined that the accident should be reported to FMCSA, the information is transcribed from the PAR either into an electronic file that is transmitted to FMCSA or manually entered through a Web interface. FMCSA then performs certain checks and enters the data into the MCMIS Crash database. Complexity arises not only from the process of going from the PAR to the MCMIS Crash form, but also from the number of agencies and individuals involved in the reporting. A query of the indi- viduals or organizations filling out the PARs in 2005 totaled over 60,000 entries for approximately 145,000 crash records entered (only about 2% of these are hazmat crashes). The exact number of individuals filling out the form could not be determined because many of the entries were orga- nization names, not the names of the individuals filling out the form. If any one of the thousands of police officers filling out a PAR fails to record the value for a parameter or any of the state agency staff fail to transcribe a parameter value or transcribe it incorrectly, the data submitted in the MCMIS Crash file is incomplete or inaccurate. 4.1.9 Data Compilation Over the years, efforts have been made to develop some standardization in the format used by each state and territory for its PARs. Although there have been some successes, there are still vast differences among the forms. Over time, there also has been an effort to keep the types of informa- tion reported in the Crash file consistent. Although the MCMIS file has been segmented into sev- eral tables from the one table used initially, the information requested has remained the same. This has enabled the states and territories to develop a standard protocol for translating the data in their PARs into the MCMIS format. Essentially, there remain 56 different translation protocols since each state or territory has a slightly different PAR. Although the MCMIS report file prepared by the state or territory is electronically transmitted to FMCSA, there appears to be little automation on the front end of the process. In the majority of the states and territories, the PARs are prepared by hand by the police officers and the translation of the PAR information into the MCMIS electronic file structure is also a manual operation. If the police officer filling out the PAR uses an abbreviated notation for the name of the carrier, unless the person transcribing the data into the MCMIS Crash file format realizes it is a shortened carrier name, the spelling of the carrier name listed in the PAR becomes the carrier name listed in the MCMIS Crash file. 4.1.10 Accuracy and Completeness of Data Studies have shown that the complicated process of filling out PARs, identifying those truck and bus accidents that meet the definition of serious accidents, and then entering the data from the PARs into the MCMIS format is neither complete nor accurate. Over the last five years, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has been under contract to FMCSA to assess the accuracy and completeness of the MCMIS crash reporting system on a