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Database Analysis 43 Table 4-8. Proportion of selected variables in MCMIS coded correctly, based on comparison with TIFA data. Variable % Correct Interstate carrier 83.8 Number of vehicles in crash 85.2 Number of fatalities 99.2 Light condition 89.7 Road surface condition 91.0 Weather 84.0 Trafficway flow 41.0 GVWR class 34.8 GVWR class where known 91.5 filling out the state PAR and the MCMIS crash form would be more appropriate and is the avenue recommended for consideration. Although FMCSA has an elaborate training program, it does not focus on hazmat crashes. Because of unique characteristics of hazmat crashes, train- ing should include special attention for this category of cargo. Tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the current (quality assurance) Q/A process are challeng- ing because of the number of agencies providing data. Each agency likely has its own Q/A process, so queries at the national level contain considerable uncertainty regarding their quality. A few years ago, when one compared carrier names and DOT numbers, the agreement was poor and the number of ways the carrier name was presented ran for pages, particularly for a carrier with a name that can be easily misspelled or mistyped, especially considering that most of the entries are being entered from a handwritten PAR. Fortunately, many of these previously observed problems are no longer present. The overall Q/A process was checked selecting a single-truck carrier, "Schneider Trucking." This company was picked because in 2001, the number of ways this company's name could be spelled ran on for pages. Within the umbrella of "Schneider Trucking," the company appears to be operating under three DOT numbers, "Schneider Specialty Carriers," "Schneider Bulk Car- riers," and "Schneider National Carriers Inc." Although there are slight variations in the names and addresses for the divisions, for the DOT number reported for Schneider Specialty Carriers, all the variations are in the name and address and none of the names or addresses are the same as those reported for the other two Schneider divisions. While the Q/A could be improved so only one name and address was recorded for each of the Schneider divisions, the variations are not considered a major impediment toward carrier-specific analysis since the DOT number appears to always be reported correctly. Since it is known that the source of the variation in the name and address starts when the carrier's name and address are handwritten on the PAR, the only way the variation could be eliminated would be to not faithfully record the information in the PAR but instead refer back to a pick list taken from the MCMIS Carrier Registration file where the DOT number was assigned. Since this is not a serious analysis impediment, improve- ment in other areas, such as reducing the number of blank entries and ensuring the consistency among current entries, would be more cost effective. 4.1.13 Interconnectivity with Other Databases The MCMIS Crash file could be connected with HMIRS, TIFA, and--for grade-crossing accidents--RAIRS. The date and state where the incident occurred, along with the carrier's DOT number, provides a way to link accidents reported in the other databases. An attempt was made