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60 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis Differences before and after Changes in HMIRS Structure Prior to the restructuring of HMIRS, hazmat records had to be duplicated to account for the presence of a carrier hauling hazardous material for several shippers in the same vehicle and for designating more than one destination for some of the packages. A query of the database for PHASE = 261 and ACCDR = True, shows that there are a total of 603 primary incident records for 2003 and 2004 and an additional 146 records to account for multiple shippers and multiple destinations. The total number of records is therefore 749 records, remarkably similar to the total of 747 records reported for 2005 and 2006 combined. Although not important when consider- ing root causes, it is easier to understand the shipment logistics after the restructuring. The total number of incidents is quite close as well, considering that in the 649 accidents reported for 2005 and 2006, 33 were associated with the new requirement to report non-spills if a cargo tank hav- ing a capacity of 1,000 gallons or greater was involved in an accident and there was damage to the cargo or the equipment protecting the cargo. If those were not considered, the number of crashes in 2005 and 2006 would total 616, again quite similar to the 603 reported in 2003 and 2004. A more detailed evaluation of the records is found in Appendix D (available on the TRB website at by searching for HMCRP Report 1). 4.2.9 Summary and Potential Measures for Improving Root Cause Analysis Summary of Database Evaluations The restructured HMIRS database can be considered to be a relational database and, except for the PKGFAIL Table, the record set for an en route accident is complete. Even in the case of the PKGFAIL Table, the data are available for about 80% of the HMIRS en route accidents. From the point of view of identifying route and contributing causes, this is not believed to be a signif- icant limitation. For a complete description of the package, vehicle, driver, and roadway characteristics asso- ciated with an accident, HMIRS would have to be joined with MCMIS for trucks and RAIRS for rail. Until the restructuring of HMIRS, the biggest detriment to joining the two databases was the lack of common fields. HMIRS now has a field to enter the DOT number, and this field is now being populated almost 90% of the time. The DOT number is also entered for about 90% of the MCMIS records designated as showing a hazmat placard. Assuming the non-reporting is random, the DOT number can be used to join about 80% of the accidents that meet both the HMIRS and MCMIS reporting criteria. Since all carriers of placarded quantities of hazardous material must register with both FMCSA and PHMSA, they must have a DOT number and there should be no blank entries in either database. Information technology has advanced to the point where both the carrier reporting in HMIRS and the police officer reporting to MCMIS have the capability to report the longitude and lati- tude of the accident. Providing that a common format is used in both databases, it is believed that one query could be used to identify accidents reported to both HMIRS and MCMIS and the data-scrubbing step could be eliminated or significantly reduced. The main reason why a fraction of the HMIRS and MCMIS records cannot be linked is the difference in reporting criteria. Some of the difference between the number of records in MCMIS that can be joined with HMIRS records can also be attributed to underreporting. It is suspected that carriers are not reporting all of their Report Type C accidents but that state- ment can not be made with certainty. Lastly, the carriers are providing action statements for 74% of the truck accidents and 46% of the rail accidents. An increase of the carrier reporting rate to at least 90% would be highly desirable. In addition, the action statements given are quite positive