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72 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis crash causation. Some data fields could be added very easily, with little modification of the program. Including other data fields would take additional resources. Recommended additional fields are as follows: The right-of-way data element could identify which vehicle, if any, within a crash had the right of way prior to the collision. This could be coded readily from the PAR in almost all cases. Some state crash reports include right of way on the report. Right of way would be useful in most crashes in identifying the vehicle that primarily contributed to the crash. Critical event is a field that identifies and describes the event that precipitated the crash for the vehicle. This field is included in both the GES and CDS files. Coding manuals are available and could be used to ensure that coding is consistent with NCSA standards. The managers of the TIFA survey might also consider adding a field for critical reason. Criti- cal reason captures the "reason" for the critical event, classified broadly as driver, vehicle, or environment, with detailed levels under each. The variable is useful for identifying the imme- diate failure that led to the crash and would shed light on crash causation. The field was used in the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), conducted jointly by FMCSA and NHTSA, and in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), conducted by NHTSA. Therefore, coding procedures are available. The suggestion to add a critical rea- son data field to TIFA, however, is subject to whether the information is available within the TIFA protocol, which relies primarily on PARs, to code this field. The TIFA program could add the following additional information about hazmat cargo: MC number of the cargo tank, which has been collected in the past as part of a special data col- lection effort and, therefore, the feasibility of collecting this information has been demonstrated. Quantity of hazardous material transported, which would entail adding cargo weight data fields back to the survey. The program could consider capturing the quantity in terms of liquid measure, where appropriate. 4.4.8 Potential Measures to Improve Data Quality The TIFA system is complete and mature. It is subject to annual review and adjustment, including continuing training of the coders. However, greater cooperation with the FARS pro- gram might help increase the accuracy with which trucks are identified. 4.4.9 Compatibility with Other Databases The comments in Section 4.3.9 on the FARS data apply equally to TIFA, since TIFA uses the same case number system. However, there is an additional constraint on linking the TIFA file to other data systems, if that raises a risk of identifying specific individuals or organizations. The TIFA program is bound by commitments to respondents to protect their identity, and by the terms of its operations under the University of Michigan's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Thus, any effort to link the data to other data systems would be unlikely to be allowed. 4.4.10 Data Uses FMCSA uses TIFA data for a variety of research purposes. In addition, the TIFA data are used by researchers at UMTRI and other universities for traffic safety research. The research is designed to identify the scope of traffic safety problems related to trucks and to identify risk fac- tors in truck crashes, whether related to the vehicle, driver, operation, or environment. This information is used by government entities--including FMCSA, NHTSA, and certain states-- for regulatory purposes.