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Database Analysis 91 railroad official filling out the grade-crossing incident form to follow up with these individ- uals as the form is being completed. 2. Require the narrative sections of the FRA grade-crossing accident form to be filled out with witness statements. Police officials, if present at the scene, are trained to provide accident details and their findings should be included in the narrative fields. 3. Readings from the train's event recorder at the time of the accident could be obtained and stored to verify some of the statements made by the train engineer regarding speed and whether or not the horn was sounded at the proper time. 4. The rail equipment incident database has fields entitled primary cause and contributing cause. Such fields could also be included in the grade-crossing accident reporting form. 5. Evaluate the need to provide additional guidance on the definition of restricted view of the railroad tracks. While both NTSB and FRA emphasize the importance of seeing the train as the motor vehicle approaches the crossing, it does not appear that the railroads were using this definition when filling out the FRA grade-crossing accident report. Railroads also could place maintenance cars, supplies, and equipment in a location where the view of oncoming trains is not obstructed at passive grade crossings. Although this occurred in only 1 of the 60 cases, it is a condition that can be addressed easily. 6. If the GPS location of all accidents was recorded in the database, by using these data along with month, day, and year, it could be possible to display the frequency of grade-crossing acci- dents in a region and also couple records in multiple databases, thereby expanding the amount of information available regarding an accident with no increase in the number of forms that have to be filed. 4.9 The Hazmat Serious Truck Crash Project Database 4.9.1 Introduction The Hazardous Materials Serious Crash Analysis: Phase 2 (Battelle 2005), a project conducted from 2002 to 2005 for FMCSA, demonstrated two methods for improving the usefulness of a database for identifying the root causes of hazmat crashes. The project achieved this result by improving data quality (including comprehensiveness) and augmenting the database with addi- tional fields. The project demonstrates how, by adding specific data fields, checking data from the original source, and supplementing data with telephone calls, the user is able to develop insights into root cause analysis that could not be obtained without the application of these techniques. This project had the following three basic objectives: Enhance the current methodology for identifying and characterizing serious hazmat truck crashes in the United States. Improve the capability to analyze causes and effects of selected serious hazmat crashes. Support the implementation of hazmat truck transportation risk reduction strategies for pack- agings, vehicles, and drivers. The Hazmat Serious Truck Crash Project used the MCMIS Crash file for serious crashes occurring in 2002, extracted the crashes that involved hazardous materials and, for a sample of 1,000 hazmat crashes, supplemented the data in MCMIS with information from other sources. These sources included HMIRS, PARs filed by police from individual states, and direct cor- respondence with the involved carriers.