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62 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis Both TIFA and FARS collect information about hazardous materials in the cargo. In the discussion of the variables that identify hazmat cargo in FARS, it will be shown that there are reasons to believe that the TIFA file identifies hazmat cargo more accurately. Since TIFA incorporates virtually all FARS variables, discussion of those variables and their usefulness will be discussed in Section 4.4, which focuses on the TIFA file. 4.3.1 Agencies/Organizations Responsible for Data Collection and Entry FARS is compiled by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis at NHTSA. 4.3.2 Database Years of Coverage The FARS file was initiated in 1975 and has been in continuous operation to the present time. 4.3.3 Criteria for Reporting and Inclusion of Data The FARS file includes all traffic crashes involving A fatality that occurs as a result of a crash, or A fatality that occurs within 30 days of a crash, and At least one motor vehicle in transport on a public road. 4.3.4 Types of Hazmat Data Included The FARS crash data file includes limited information regarding hazardous materials. Since 2005, the vehicle-related variables (up to two responses allowed) include a level that captures haz- mat cargo releases as a result of a crash. The vehicle-related variables record pre-existing vehicle defects or special conditions related to the vehicle. The vehicle configuration variable, added in 2001, identifies light trucks or passenger cars that display a hazmat placard. The driver-related variable (up to four responses allowed) includes an entry for "carrying hazardous cargo improperly." Finally, the hazardous cargo variable records if a vehicle was transporting hazardous material and if it was placarded. Comparison of the identification of hazmat cargo in FARS and TIFA over a five-year period showed a large discrepancy. The FARS file identified hazardous material in the cargo in 1,257 cases over that period, while hazardous material was identified in only 1,049 cases in TIFA (see Figure 4-3). Surprisingly, when the comparison was made on a case-by-case basis, there was a large amount of disagreement between the files. As shown in Table 4-17, hazmat cargo was identified in both FARS and TIFA in only 706 cases over the observation period. FARS coded 551 trucks with hazardous material when the TIFA survey did not identify hazmat cargo, but in 343 cases, the TIFA survey showed that the truck had hazmat cargo and FARS did not. 1, 257 in FARS 1, 049 in TIFA Figure 4-3. Comparison of trucks with hazardous materials in FARS and TIFA, 19992004.