States are underreporting critical data from crash scenes that could make a big difference in efforts to prevent help prevent traffic fatalities and injuries.
A National Safety Council review of motor vehicle crash reports found that:
- All 50 states lack fields or codes for law enforcement to record the level of driver fatigue at the time of a crash;
- 26 state reports lack fields to capture texting;
- 32 states lack fields to record hands-free cell phone use;
- 32 states lack fields to identify specific types of drug use if drugs are detected, including marijuana.
States are also failing to capture teen driver restrictions (35 states), and the use of advanced driver assistance technologies (50 states) and of infotainment systems (47 states).
Excluding these fields limits the ability to effectively address these problems, NSC said.
“Collecting data from a crash scene may be seen as merely “filling out accident reports” for violation and insurance purposes. Data collection efforts immediately following a crash provide a unique opportunity to help guide prevention strategies. Currently, some states are recording this type of data and others are not. When data of this kind is requested to be reported on a crash report and is entered, prevention professionals will have the data to better understand driver and non-motorist behaviors. When this data is not recorded, prevention professionals are left guessing.”
The call for better data collection follows the release of NSC figures showing that in 2016 there were more than 40,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. for the first time in 10 years.
A recent I.I.I. white paper found that in the past two years, both the accident rate and the size of insurance claims have climbed dramatically. These are the largest and most volatile components of auto insurance.
Check out additional I.I.I. facts and statistics on highway safety.