Traffic Safety Information
“A Safe Highway System Depends Upon Good Data”
These Guidelines are a “Work in Progress”. The information provided in this document
is intended to provide an overview of proposed Guidelines as developed by ATSIP,
under contract to NHTSA. Until such time as NHTSA publishes the formal, final version
of these Guidelines, users of this information should acknowledge that it represents the
suggestions from the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals,
and in no way represents a standard, or rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration or US-DOT.
Traffic Safety Information System
Table of Contents
Introduction & Overview ............................................................................................... 1
The Crash Data Component ......................................................................................... 9
The Driver License Data Component......................................................................... 13
The Vehicle Registration Data Component ............................................................... 15
The Roadway Data Component.................................................................................. 19
The Injury Control Data Component .......................................................................... 21
The Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component ........................... 25
The Motor Carrier Data Component........................................................................... 31
The Exposure Data Component ................................................................................. 35
The Data Analysis Process Component.................................................................... 39
For Further Information: ............................................................................................. 41
Appendix A – Glossary and References ................................................................... 43
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Traffic Safety Information System Guidelines
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the assistance of the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Association
of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP) has developed this document with support from the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of
Transportation Statistics (BTS).
Technical advisors on the project were selected from the membership of the Association of Transportation Safety
Information Professionals. This technical advisory team was composed of the following people:
Name Agency Title
Harold Thompson National Safety Council Exec. Dir., ATSIP
Richard Paddock Traffic Safety Analysis Systems & Services CEO
Thomas Yager Traffic Safety Analysis Systems & Services Safety Systems Manager
Barbara Hilger-DeLucia Data Nexus, Inc. President & CEO
Robert A. Scopatz Data Nexus, Inc. Research Scientist
Dave Bozak InfoGroup Safety Data Specialist
Sandra Johnson NAGHSR Consultant
James Davis University of New Mexico Dir., Div of Govt. Research
Larry Holestine Colorado Highway Patrol Major
Beverly Larson Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles Executive Assistant
Creighton Miller South Dakota Accident Records Manager
Robert Thompson Iowa Highway Safety Office Program Evaluator
Jack Zogby Transportation Safety Management Systems CEO
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Traffic Safety Information System Guidelines
Introduction & Overview
As society’s awareness of highway safety issues has increased, the states have enacted new
traffic, driver licensing and vehicle registration laws. Vehicle and highway design standards have
incorporated significant safety improvements, and the public has become less tolerant of drinking
and driving. These changes, along with numerous other initiatives, have resulted in significant
improvements in the safety of our highways, drivers and vehicles. These changes reduced the
deaths and injuries that were easiest to eliminate. However, now pressure grows for the highway
safety community to be more sophisticated in its effort to identify problems, document the impact of
countermeasures, and educate the public (and policy makers) as to why additional changes to laws,
policies and system designs are justified in terms of potential savings of lives, injuries and property
damage. The key to these efforts is better information. Our information systems contain timely,
accurate and reliable data that generate meaningful output that can be used in decision-making.
These Traffic Safety Information System Guidelines have been compiled to assist state and local
safety information systems professionals as they review their current systems and plan changes to
improve those systems. These Guidelines have been developed by safety professionals from the
Federal, state and private sectors as a tool to be used to assist in the assessment of existing
systems, and the establishment of design, performance and implementation criteria for the planning
of future systems.
These Guidelines were developed in 2002, and are scheduled for updates to capture new
information, technology, and technical references. An on-line version of the current set of
guidelines is available through the NHTSA Traffic Records & Driver Licensing web site at
www.nhtsa.dot.gov or through the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals
web site at www.atsip.org. In addition to the printed version of this document, these web sites
have, or will have, downloadable PowerPoint slide shows that can be used for in-service
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What is a Traffic Safety Information System?
Today’s highway safety professional needs reliable, accurate, and timely data to make decisions about traffic
safety problems and countermeasures, and for program management and evaluation. This document
provides guidelines for a model state Traffic Safety Information System and its major components. It
discusses several major business processes within highway safety which Traffic Safety Information Systems
should be able to support. The Guidelines are intended to provide recommendations for the design and
upgrading of safety data at the Federal, state and local levels.
The Traffic Safety Information System Wheel
The Traffic Safety Information System (TSIS) encompasses the hardware, software, personnel and
procedures that capture, store, transmit, analyze and interpret highway safety data. The data that are
managed by this system include the crash, driver license, vehicle registration, roadway, injury control,
Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication, motor carrier, exposure, and data analysis information that are
described within these TSIS Guidelines.
A complete Traffic Safety Information System collects and stores data from a variety of sources. Much of the
data involved are collected for purposes other than (or in addition to) safety. Thus, the TSIS overlaps other
areas of data collection and analysis and is dependent also on the policies and practices used in collecting
those data. Consequently, the TSIS is usually a collaborative effort spread across a number of agencies and
The primary purpose of the TSIS is to provide timely, accurate and complete information on highway safety
issues. To accomplish this, the data that are collected and stored must also be timely, accurate and
complete. The TSIS must be able to integrate information from a number of sources to identify problems and
answer questions. The results of analyses must be presented in a manner that is useful to the intended user,
which will often include maps, tables and written analyses.
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Although the TSIS Guidelines are neither prescriptive in nature nor necessarily exhaustive, they are intended
to provide a starting point as one assesses current systems with a plan toward updating them, or considers
implementing new systems. In particular, these TSIS Guidelines are directed toward the State Traffic
Records Coordinating Committees that are charged with strategic planning of Traffic Safety Information
Systems within each state.
Components of a Traffic Safety Information System
Data collected at the local level serve as the foundation for the TSIS. Whenever a car is registered, a driver
license is issued, a counter clicks to record traffic volume, or a car crashes, data are generated as part of an
administrative function that also serves a safety purpose. This dual administrative and safety function of
highway safety data makes the TSIS unique. Although the data are collected by different agencies for
different administrative purposes, they are all related to highway safety. Thus, the TSIS has the capability to
serve as an information resource for highway safety professionals to identify traffic safety problems, select
countermeasures, manage those countermeasure programs, and evaluate the performance of these
programs. For purposes of these TSIS Guidelines, nine major components of the TSIS will be addressed.
There are many additional components, but these have been deemed good examples and desirable starting
points for discussions about “what makes a complete Traffic Safety Information System.”
Roadway Driver Prosecution /
Crash Control Registration
The Transportation Safety Information System (TSIS) Basic System Components are described in the
TSIS Guideline 1 Crash Data
TSIS Guideline 2 Driver License Data
TSIS Guideline 3 Vehicle Registration Data
TSIS Guideline 4 Roadway Data
TSIS Guideline 5 Injury Control Data
TSIS Guideline 6 Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data
TSIS Guideline 7 Motor Carrier Data
TSIS Guideline 8 Exposure Data
TSIS Guideline 9 Data Analysis Process
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Basic System Components:
Crash Data Component
Crash data are the driving force for most traffic safety programs. They contain information from the law
enforcement traffic crash report, operator crash reports and other sources. They also include information on
person/vehicle/event/environment/ location as well as pre-, post- and the actual crash event. Crash data
can be derived from collected data or linked to other state data. Traffic crash data identify safety problems
and traffic safety trends. They demonstrate which safety interventions work and which are less effective.
They can be aggregated for reporting annual crash facts for a state, and can also be reported in response to
inquiries from the public or legislature.
Crash data are a cornerstone of highway safety and injury prevention programs at all levels of government as
well as the health community and private sector. Any changes to crash data that do not recognize the
significant number and range of users could have a significant adverse impact upon many safety initiatives.
At the same time, changes in crash data that improve their timeliness, completeness, accuracy, reliability and
accessibility can facilitate more efficient and effective safety programs.
Does the records system support safety analyses of the interaction between environmental factors (pavement
damp or oily, precipitation, visual obscuration, illumination, time of day)?
Does the records system support safety analyses of the interaction between collision factors (number of
vehicles, manner and speed of collision, and the nature of the object struck)?
Driver License Data Component
The Driver License Data Component includes the license data that every state maintains for every driver
license issued by that state. One component of the Driver License Data Component is the driver history file.
Driver history data are a vital part of the safety picture when one is trying to identify problem drivers and to
assess the impact of driver improvement programs or changes in licensing procedures such as Graduated
Driver Licensing. The driver history contains such information as: convictions, administrative actions, driver
demographics and residency, crash involvement, pending actions (citation file), state of record if not the
current state, court dismissals/reductions, driver improvement & training/test results, and verification of
Does the records system support human-related safety analyses with data on age, gender, experience,
physiological and psychological condition, license status and driver training, and use of safety devices?
Vehicle Registration Data Component
The Vehicle Registration Data Component contains information such as: owner information (ID, address,
type, home county), vehicle description (VIN, make, Model), plate history, insurance carrier, brands on title
(salvage, flood, etc.), vehicle history (crashes, safety inspection), odometer information (particularly with
inspection renewals), and vehicle/owner sanctions.
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Does the records system support vehicle-related safety analysis with data on vehicle types and physical
characteristics, age, condition, and safety devices present?
Roadway Data Component
The Roadway Data Component contains information about resources and issues related to the right-of-way
such as traffic volumes, traffic control device inventory, geometrics, bridges, road condition, and railroad
grade crossings. Roadway inventory data are usually the basis for the statewide Geographic Information
System (GIS) and the various location reference systems that are supported in the state. Roadway
Inventories are typically built and maintained to provide inventory and history information to support
construction and maintenance operations.
Does the records system support roadway-related safety analyses with data on locations, roadway types,
structures, control devices, roadside appurtenances, and traffic volume?
Injury Control Data Component
The Injury Control Data Component tracks the persons injured during a motor vehicle crash from the scene,
enroute, in the emergency department, and after admission as a hospital in-patient. The tracking capability
enables specific characteristics of the event, person, and vehicle to be linked to the medical outcome (type,
area, severity of the injury) and the financial outcome (total charges). The linkage of crash and injury
outcomes enables the health and highway safety communities to target interventions so they will have the
most impact on reducing deaths, injuries, injury severity, and costs.
Does your state TSIS link pre-crash, crash and post-crash data so that specific person, vehicle
and event characteristics can be linked to their medical and financial customers?
Are the data elements related to injury control standardized using nationally accepted and
published guidelines and standards for reporting thresholds and definitions?
Are public health representatives included on your TRCC?
Are highway safety decisions targeted, based on medical and financial outcome data, to have the
most impact on reducing death, injuries, injury severity and costs?
Does the records system support safety analyses of the interaction between post-collision factors
(EMS, hospital treatment, rehabilitation)?
Enforcement / Prosecution/ Adjudication Data Component
The Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component tracks a traffic citation from the time it is
issued to a law enforcement agency, through its issuance to an offender, through the court system and to the
driver history file. In this respect it provides an accountability trail for traffic citations as well as information on
the results of citations that are issued. Location information can provide the means to assess enforcement
activities against crash experience. This component includes information on other citation activity such as
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electronic citations (red-light-running, etc.) and possibly even traffic warnings. Traffic citation and conviction
data can be used to evaluate trends to determine the short-term and long-term impact of enforcement
measures. This component provides the conviction data required in the driver history.
Does the records system support safety analyses of the interaction between pre-collision factors (avoidance
maneuver, response time, and traffic violations)?
Motor Carrier Data Component
The Motor Carrier Data Component contains information generated by the licensing and administration of
commercial carriers. These data, relative to the carrier and commercially licensed vehicles, are significant
when linked to the other TSIS components. Elements within the Motor Carrier Data Component include:
carrier, operator and vehicle identification, inspections, compliance reviews, routing, insurance, etc.
What carriers have drivers that have been involved in two or more serious traffic violations (speed,
alcohol) in the past three years, irrespective of the type of vehicle they were operating?
What intrastate carriers were involved in more than five traffic crashes in the past year?
What drivers in commercial vehicle crashes were not properly licensed at the time of the crash?
Exposure Data Component
The Exposure Data Component is actually a collection of data files and information support systems.
Exposure data include information that is used to establish the exposure to risk for accidents. Popular
exposure measures are:
Vehicle-Miles of Travel (VMT) over a section of roadway
Average Daily Traffic (ADT) at a location
Census data for political subdivisions down to census tract level
Distribution of licensed drivers within political subdivisions
Distribution of registered vehicles by political subdivision
Which communities had the greatest per capita number of under-18 year olds with Graduated
What communities have the highest concentration of small pickup trucks per capita that are
registered to youthful drivers?
Data Analysis Process Component
The Data Analysis Process Component addresses the various analytical needs of the end-users and assures
that they have access to the data and the analytical tools to support their information needs. The Data
Analysis Process Component is composed of the system of data connections, data shares, networks and
policies that allow the safety professional to access the data they need, in a form that they can use. It also
includes the tools to assist in organizing, analyzing and displaying the data to allow for decision-making.
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These tools might include data integration, warehousing and linkage software, data analysis packages such
as SAS or SPSS, and data analysis/display tools such as GIS systems. End users should have access to
training and support in the use of the system, which may range from basic file documentation to sophisticated
Do both state and local safety program planners have access to the same data for identifying
problems and evaluating projects?
Are there data connections and analysis tools available to the problem identification staff in the
State Safety Office that allows them to link driver histories, traffic crashes, and census and travel
exposure data to establish problem areas for common safety programs such as speed and alcohol
Can safety personnel map crash locations and high frequency political subdivisions for alcohol-
Business Processes and the Traffic Safety Information System:
The TSIS should be able to support not only those specific business processes for which the system was
initially built, but several larger, multi-agency, multi-user business processes. Most TSIS components have
traditionally been designed and implemented to support some agency-specific business process such as the
licensing of drivers within a Department of Motor Vehicles, or the monitoring of traffic volumes within a
Highway Department. However, as our demands for a safer, more efficient highway system have grown,
there has also grown a need for data to be used across agency boundaries. In many cases these “external
users” have data needs which may not have been anticipated by the data component’s owner. As an
example, a Department of Motor Vehicles may be charged with being the repository of all traffic accident
reports for the state and for compiling the annual Crash Facts Book for the state. If their Crash Data
Component is designed to only support those internal business processes, there is no real need to include the
location of the crash, other than perhaps the political subdivision where the crash occurred. However, the
States Department of Transportation’s traffic engineers need the crash data file to contain reliable SPECIFIC
location of the crash so that they can establish high-hazard locations on the roadway network. Thus, if the
Crash Data Component is to support the Problem Identification Business Process within the state, the DMV
must also record and maintain the crash location in the database, even though they may not be a user of
those fields. Otherwise, pressure develops for the DOT to develop a parallel Crash Data Component thereby
duplicating cost and other resources. Today’s pressures to efficiently utilize an agency’s resources and to
“store once and use many times” cannot tolerate such duplication of effort – and data.
The Problem Identification Process:
All safety agencies, no matter what the primary business function (engineering, injury prevention, EMS,
education, etc.) have a need to identify problems, select safety countermeasures, manage the implementation
of those countermeasures and evaluate their effectiveness in reducing crashes and injuries. This safety
management cycle starts with the identification of problems. A comprehensive problem identification process
incorporates information from a variety of sources, and interprets these data against standards and norms to
establish those areas that are most in need of attention.
Depending upon the particular safety agency’s mission, the focus of the problem identification may be any
number of measures. The TSIS must be prepared to support these various areas of interest and to promote
the collaborative attack on safety problems when they are identified. The Problem Identification Process at
the state level will involve several state agencies that are dependent upon local agencies for data, and will
rely upon the sharing of data to allow problems to be fully understood and assure that the proper
countermeasures are applied.
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The Enforcement, Prosecution, and Adjudication Process:
The Enforcement, Prosecution, and Adjudication Process starts with the enforcement community as they
interact with drivers and occupants of motor vehicles as well as pedestrians and non-motorists who share the
roadway. When an enforcement action takes place and a citation is issued, the Enforcement, Prosecution,
and Adjudication Process must assure that the citation is tracked through the entire process, the information
about the circumstances and location of the citation, the resulting adjudication is properly captured and
shared, and the enforcement officer can establish the outcome of his actions in issuing the citation.
This process involves the information systems at the law enforcement agency, where necessary – the
prosecuting officer, the court, the driver licensing agency, and in some cases the vehicle registration and
commercial carrier licensing agencies. An effective, well designed and operated Enforcement, Prosecution,
and Adjudication Process can provide stakeholders with the data they need to perform their individual
business processes; while eliminating duplication of data capture, transcription errors, and “lost information”.
It can also support the overall safety process by providing information about problem drivers, commercial
carriers, and effectiveness of the enforcement and adjudication processes.
The Problem Driver / Operator Process:
There is a growing interest in the identification of problem drivers and commercial motor carriers that are
over-represented in traffic crashes, drivers cited, or vehicles placed out of service, in order to curtail their use
of the roadways. In order for this process to operate effectively, the TSIS must be designed and operated
such that information on drivers, carriers, traffic crashes, traffic citations, citation adjudication, driver training,
and several other components can be linked and analyzed.
The Crash Analysis Process:
The Crash Analysis Process entails the support of those highway safety professionals who draw upon the
crash data for decisions about prioritization of resources, design of highways and operations systems, design
of vehicle and highway appliances, driver education, enforcement activities and many other areas. A key
element of the Crash Analysis Process is the ability of the Traffic Safety Information System to access various
data sources and link those data.
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The Crash Data Component
What is a Crash Data Component:
The Crash Data Component of the TSIS provides detailed information about motor vehicle crashes and is the
primary information used in traffic safety programs. The data describe the crash event, its location, and its
environment; as well as the persons and vehicles involved in the crash. Crash data that exceed a state-
defined threshold of damage or injury are required to be reported by state statute or regulation to a state
agency that serves as a crash data custodian. Reported crashes are used to identify safety problems, traffic
safety trends, to identify problem drivers, to evaluate safety programs, and to respond to inquiries from the
public and the legislature.
Crash data are the cornerstone of highway safety and injury prevention programs at all levels of government,
as well as the injury control community and the private sector. Because reporting thresholds vary and the
data element definitions and values are not standardized from state to state, it is difficult to combine crash
data nationally. However, there are numerous Federal programs that utilize these data; e.g., a census data
set of all fatalities, a sample of crashes representative of the national experience, motor carrier crashes, etc.
Changes to the Crash Data Component, particularly in terms of the initial data collected, have a significant
impact upon a wide range of users and numerous state and Federal safety initiatives. At the same time,
changes that improve the timeliness, completeness, accuracy, reliability and accessibility of the crash data
can facilitate more efficient and effective safety programs.
Who Uses a Crash Data Component:
Crash data are used by numerous local, state, and Federal agencies as the basis for their traffic safety
programs. The data are used by enforcement and engineering communities to identify traffic problem areas,
to select countermeasures and to monitor the impact of those countermeasures. Both types of agencies use
crash data to rank those intersections or roadway segments where crashes are occurring more frequently.
These rankings are used for more effective resource allocation such as assignment of patrol personnel or
prioritization of safety improvements to the roadway. Both the engineering and enforcement communities use
the crash data to help justify need when applying for state and Federal grant funds to improve roadway and
traffic safety. The crash diagram and narrative portions of the crash report form are vital resources for
interpretation of specific crashes and are used extensively by the engineering community.
Other users of the crash data include hospital injury control programs and special interest groups such as the
American Automobile Association, Students Against Drunk Drivers, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, etc. In
the private sector, insurance companies use crash data to establish risk factors for individual drivers as well
as geographic areas when setting insurance rates. The media are also a major consumer/user of traffic crash
data as they develop coverage of major traffic problems, problem drivers and other traffic safety issues.
The court system utilizes driver histories during traffic offense cases, which require that the state agency
charged with maintaining driver history information be provided with accurate information on those drivers that
are involved in traffic crashes. Another major user of the crash data at the state level is the Highway Safety
Office, which administers the various Federal traffic safety program funds. Crash data from the central
repository is used to identify statewide traffic safety program goals, and to establish where the Federal safety
funds will be used – both in terms of problem areas and in terms of allocation of funds to local political
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At the Federal level NHTSA, FMCSA, and FHWA are all major consumers of crash data that are obtained
from state agencies. The highway safety programs administered by USDOT agencies are essentially
dependent upon local crash data that have been collected by the state and forwarded to these agencies.
Characteristics of a Crash Data Component:
A comprehensive, well-implemented Crash Data Component will have the following attributes:
Incorporation of a quality assurance process to assure that data are complete and accurate from the
time of collection and throughout the processing of the data.
A consistently applied threshold for reporting crashes to the state custodial agency.
Efficiently designed to utilize resources for data collection, management, and use and not to duplicate
the expenditure of those resources across jurisdictions or agencies.
Well-trained data collectors, managers, and users.
Flexible enough to accommodate changing needs and requirements in data collection.
Consistent input from a wide range of stakeholders.
Structured to minimize or eliminate duplicate data collection efforts.
Consistent with published standards for reporting crash data.
Designed with the capability to support surveillance & trend analysis.
Provide a reliable basis for measurement of deaths, injuries and property loss.
Provide reliable and consistent location of crashes.
Consider for strategic planning the stakeholder business decision process with respect to collection,
storage and distribution issues.
Engender a common sense approach to litigation, privacy issues, and staffing costs.
Provide a user-friendly mechanism for access to state crash data by local law enforcement, EMS,
traffic engineers and others.
Overall, the Crash Data Component is central to the entire state’s Traffic Safety Information System. Without
beneficial, reliable crash data, the value and utility of most of the other components are severely limited.
Functions a Crash Data Component Should Support:
Functions supported by a typical, fully functional, crash information system will include:
Crash involvement posted to driver history
Crash involvement posted to carrier history
Linkage to EMS and other medical data for injury control analysis
Identification of high incident location
Identification of vehicle defect problems
Engineering studies – traffic signal warrants, etc.
Selective enforcement programs
Injury prevention programs
Legislation and public policy
Programs and countermeasures related to driver behavior and education
Standardized crash data are needed to generate national data of sufficient volume to identify less frequent
events that may be significant in terms of medical and financial outcome. The Model Minimum Uniform Crash
Criteria (MMUCC) consists of uniform data element definitions and values for the person, vehicle and event.
These data elements can be collected at the scene, derived from the collected data, or obtained through
linkage to other data files.
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What the Crash Data Component Should Contain:
A typical, fully functional, crash information system should contain:
Information describing the crash event and its characteristics; e.g., weather, surface condition, time
The specific location where the crash occurred and links to other supplemental data sources
The environment surrounding the crash, including pre-crash and post-crash characteristics
The persons involved in the crash, their injuries, their characteristics, and their license status
Vehicles involved in the crash and their characteristics
Violations cited that might indicate culpability in the crash
A consistent reporting threshold that is low enough to include property damage only crashes
Examples of Questions the Crash Data Component Should Be Able to
What are the characteristics (time, weather, driver age, types vehicles, etc.) of most frequent types of
crashes, including specific locations?
What population groups (age, gender, etc.) are associated with various crash frequencies?
What types of vehicles are most likely to be involved in crashes?
What types of “causes” are identified most frequently?
In crashes involving large commercial vehicles, what percent of time is commercial driver “at fault”?
At what locations are roadway issues identified as factors?
What types of violations are drivers involved in crashes being cited for?
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The Driver License Data Component
What is a Driver License Data Component:
A Driver License Data Component is defined as that combination of procedures and data systems that track
the status of a driver license and any actions taken against that license. The attributes include:
Traffic offense conviction histories
Driver demographics and residency
Information accessible from the field
Pending actions (citation file)
Driver license agreement – state of record
All actions – including dismissals/reductions (citation file)
Driver improvement and training/test results (commercial training separate, know provider)
Link to crash data file
Link to citation data file
Link to court and prosecutor automation
Driving related medical conditions and verification of impairment
Elements of a Driver License Data Component: The system contains details about drivers such as personal
identification, driver license number, type of license, license status, driver restrictions, medical conditions that
may affect driving ability, convictions for traffic violations, crash history, driver improvement or control actions,
and driver education data. The history of driver actions is a key element of most safety program evaluations
when the countermeasures are directed toward driver improvement and the reduction of the recidivism rate
for problem drivers. Driver information should be maintained to accommodate information obtained through
interaction with the National Driver Register (NDR) and the commercial driver license information system
(CDLIS) to enable the states to maintain complete driving histories and the Driver License Agreement (DLA)
to prevent drivers from circumventing driver control actions and obtaining licenses from multiple states.
The Driver License Data Component begins whenever it becomes evident that an individual is operating a
motor vehicle. Most often it begins with the issuance of a “learner’s permit” at which time a person receives a
new record in the driver licensing database. However, sometimes the history must begin when a non-
licensed driver receives a citation or is involved in a crash. The Driver License Data Component collects data
on any individual known to be operating motor vehicles including proficiency testing and resulting driver
license status. The classification of the license and endorsements on the driver license (GDL, Temporary,
Operator, Commercial, Motorcycle, etc.) are shown on the system and help to establish what legal rights the
person has to operate motor vehicles. When a driver is stopped by a law enforcement official, a check of the
driver licensing system establishes if there are any restrictions on the license that should be considered, given
the circumstances of the stop or if there have been convictions resulting from previous violations.
If a citation is issued, the resulting court action is documented on the driver history for future reference. This
history information can be considered by the traffic court system for sanctions when future violations are
incurred. Court actions resulting in suspension or revocations of driving privileges are posted to the driver
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Who Uses a Driver License Data Component:
Driver history information provides a valuable resource to the driver education community, researchers and
others that utilize the human factors components of highway safety and driver improvement. It is also vital to
other areas of the criminal justice system when addressing citations which have penalties based upon
recidivism levels. Law enforcement agencies use these data to assist in locating criminals as well as for
assessing situations and potential charges when encountering drivers during traffic stops.
Characteristics of a Driver License Data Component:
A comprehensive Driver License Data Component should have the following elements:
A complete record of licensure status showing dates when the status changed, such as from
o GDL to a full operator
o when a suspension was imposed or removed
All restrictions on operating privileges such as medical limitations or “only to work” restrictions.
A complete log of traffic offenses and the resulting penalties.
A log of all training including driver improvement/rehabilitation courses and skills development
courses (CDL Training).
Accurate information on the basic demographics of the driver including date of birth, ethnicity,
Name changes, gender and physical attributes such as height and weight.
A digitized driver license document that will support field retrieval of basic demographic information –
with or without live access to the master database (e.g. bar coding or magnetic stripe encoding).
A mechanism for flagging “problem drivers”
Mechanisms for the sharing and exchange of data between DMV, courts, prosecutors, and law
Examples of Questions a Driver License Data Component Should be
Able to Answer:
1. Does the driver involved in a motor vehicle crash have a current driver’s license?
2. Does law enforcement have timely access to driver history information?
3. Is the driver’s class of licensure consistent with the vehicle being operated?
4. Does the driver license file include medical restrictions?
5. Does law enforcement have timely access to previous crash, citation and court information about the
6. Does the law enforcement have timely access to demographic and residency information about the
7. Does law enforcement have access to driver’s training including improvement/rehabilitation courses
and skills development, such as CDL training, at the time of a crash?
8. Can the court and prosecutors interpret the information to perform their functions?
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The Vehicle Registration Data Component
This Guideline discusses the Vehicle Registration Data Component of a Traffic Safety Information System
and how it might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or
What is a Vehicle Registration Data Component:
The Vehicle Registration Data Component of the TSIS captures title and registration information on all
vehicles licensed in a jurisdiction. This component includes information such as owner identification, vehicle
description and identification, insurance carrier, title brands, odometer readings, sanctions, and vehicle
incidents. When a vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle crash, vehicle characteristics can be important to
determine crash causation and other highway safety issues. These data generally reside in an agency tasked
with collecting fees for vehicle registrations, such as a department of revenue; however, in many states these
data are available in real-time to reduce data entry in other components of the TSIS. Furthermore, these data
are available in real-time to law enforcement agencies through their statewide telecommunications network
for use during traffic stops and other citizen contacts.
Who Uses a Vehicle Registration Data Component:
The Vehicle Registration Data Component is used by the State agency that is assigned the responsibility for
issuing vehicle licenses. For safety purposes, the Vehicle Registration Data Component is also used by local
law enforcement, court administrators, highway safety researchers, and various safety programs. Vehicle
registration information is critical for law enforcement use in the identification of stolen vehicle and other
criminal investigations. Motor vehicle manufacturers use this data for vehicle recall purposes, and Federal
and state highway safety officials use them to investigate vehicle design and operational safety issues. At the
national level, vehicle registration information is used by the FMCSA as a key element in several of their
national commercial vehicle safety programs, and by NHTSA for vehicle safety programs.
Conceivably the most important new vehicle registration initiative that can also have a significant safety
impact is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). NMVTIS, operated by the U.S.
Department of Justice, ensures a more secure title and the accuracy of title brands that can identify potentially
dangerous vehicles. It also helps track odometer information, which provides an exposure base for
comparative safety analysis and to track maintenance failure and safety problems based on use. Since this
will require some major system modifications, it is an opportunity for the highway safety community to interact
with the vehicle registration custodial agency to explore other modifications beneficial to the motoring public.
Characteristics of a Vehicle Registration Data Component:
Highway safety and vehicle registration program managers should be aware of the safety impact of
vehicle registration data when designing or redesigning the vehicle registration systems. A Vehicle
Registration Data Component should allow:
Flexibility to respond to changing demands for information and information exchange.
TSIS Guidelines 15 10/30/2003
Sufficient breakdowns in types of vehicles and location coding to know the number and
types of vehicles in the jurisdiction.
Ability to link the crash with the vehicle registration files to supplement analysis and problem
Retention of periodic or random safety inspections, where available, to be used for safety
Provide the basis for identification of vehicle ownership for manufacturer’s recall and other
Timely update of data to assist law enforcement in identification of stolen vehicles and other
Identification of vehicle sanction information for appropriate enforcement and adjudication
Identification of the cost, value, and/or extent of prior damage to a vehicle.
Identification of potentially unsafe vehicles through vehicle branding.
Use of vehicle odometer history information as an exposure base and for safety analysis
relating to vehicle use. (States that have an emissions inspection program may already
collect odometer history. However, states are encouraged, where cost effective, to also
collect odometer history as part of the registration renewal process.)
Tracking of vehicle location information and using vehicle geographic exposure data in a
comparative analysis between jurisdictions.
Commercial vehicle registration controlled by motor carrier safety compliance and their
drivers’ violation history.
Functions a Vehicle Registration Data Component Should Support:
A Vehicle Registration Data Component should provide:
Identification of the vehicle owner information (ID, address, type, home county)
A link to motor carrier data base and commercial vehicle safety data
A link to driver license operator
A vehicle description
A link to crash data
Brands on title (salvage, flood, etc.)
Cumulative dollar value of damage to vehicle
History (registration, plate, crashes, safety inspection)
Integration with National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)
Bar coding of registration document for easier roadside owner identification and data collection
Odometer information – particularly with registration and inspection renewals
Vehicle/owner sanctions including ignition interlock device history
TSIS Guidelines 16 10/30/2003
The Vehicle Registration Data Component provides information on all vehicles (commercial and passenger)
domiciled in a jurisdiction as required by statute. A fully functioning Vehicle Registration Data Component not
only identifies vehicles and their owners and collects the required fees, but also assures that vehicles are
qualified (road worthy) and continue to be qualified to use the nation’s highway system.
What a Vehicle Registration Data Component Should Contain:
A typical, fully functional Vehicle Registration Component should contain the following information:
Vehicle owner / operator information
Vehicle identification number
A link to a vehicle’s involvement in a crash
Vehicle safety inspection history
Vehicle manufacturers’ recall
Vehicle sanction history
Vehicle titling history
Vehicle odometer history
Vehicle geographic exposure data
Vehicle damage statement/cumulative damage information
Examples of Questions the Vehicle Registration Data Component Should
be Able to Answer:
1. Is registration for a specific vehicle currently valid?
2. Do vehicles registered to certain owners have unusual amounts of damage reported?
3. For large trucks and buses, what is the identification of the carrier(s) which will utilize the vehicle?
4. What percentage of total registered vehicles are certain vehicle types (e.g., large trucks)?
5. What vehicles/owners are involved in a manufacturer’s safety recall?
TSIS Guidelines 17 10/30/2003
The Roadway Data Component
This Guideline discusses the Roadway Data Component of a Traffic Safety Information System and how it
might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or local level.
What is a Roadway Data Component:
A Roadway Data Component includes roadway location, identification, and classification, as well as a
description of a road’s attributes (roadway type, surface type, structures, classification, number of lanes,
geometrics, railroad grade crossings, traffic control devices, appurtenances, and access control) and usage
(traffic volumes and vehicle mix), which are tied to a location reference component (linear referencing system
and GIS). Linked safety and roadway information are valuable components in support of construction and
maintenance program development. Roadway information should be available for all public roads whatever
A reliable location referencing system must be applied to all safety events (traffic crashes, EMS runs, traffic
citations, etc.) as well as roadway attributes in order for a Traffic Safety Information System to function
properly. When all events and attributes can be located to the same reference system and in turn placed on a
common “map”, then there is a significant increase in the safety value of each component of the TSIS, linkage
between systems is facilitated, and efficiency of the TSIS is greatly improved. The Roadway Data
Component is best utilized by incorporating both linear referencing and GIS capabilities through use of
geographic coordinates to generate a visual display of roadway attributes and safety events.
Linear Reference Systems (LRS) fall into several typical formats:
Route, Log Mileage
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are composed of data “layers” containing spatial information on the
location and boundaries of various geographic features. These feature layers might include political
subdivision boundaries, rivers and lakes, roadways, maintenance regions, location of law enforcement call
boxes, etc. These features have attribute files that provide data about items such as travel along a roadway
segment, population of the city, telephone number of the call box, etc. A comprehensive GIS has linkage
between key features like the roadway and the various safety “events” such as crashes and EMS run pickup
and delivery points. When this linkage is valid, simple “pin maps” of event locations can be produced, as well
as more complex analysis maps such as “density” of traffic crashes.
The TSIS should also provide for a way to translate between methods, and should be able to convert any
method of location coding into the standard X-Y-Z coordinates of the preferred GIS location system. Once
these working standards and translation routines are established, the system should be applied to the
following data components:
TSIS Guidelines 19 10/30/2003
Locations of medical or response resources
Who Uses a Roadway Data Component:
Engineering groups are the primary users of roadway information systems. Most other users of the TSIS
require the ability to accurately locate safety events (crash, citation, EMS runs, etc).
Functions a Roadway Data Component Should Support:
Highway safety analysis
Roadway operations & traffic management
Ability to locate positions on the roadway through some location reference coding scheme or
Location-based analysis for all TSIS users
Multiple roadway synonyms (aliases) – and a mechanism to map the aliases to a preferred name.
Quality assurance mechanism that will detect incorrect locations and make the appropriate changes.
MUST be mechanisms or tools in place to translate between various LRS and GIS systems and
different reference standards.
Must be a methodology and policy/procedure for continuous update, and address history.
System should be accurate at lowest level needed for safety analyses.
Standard base data should be accessible by all users.
System should support dynamic segmentation within the GIS platform.
Capability to locate all crashes in state, regardless of highway type, on a common or compatible LRS.
What a Roadway Data Component Should Contain:
Accurate current and historical traffic characteristics
Comprehensive inventories of roadway attributes
Links into a comprehensive pavement management system
Defined functional classifications to group similar types of roadways for analyses
Ability to construct a physical map using geographical information systems
Video logging to provide visual evaluation of the roadway characteristics
All roads should be described, irrespective of maintenance responsibility
Sufficient resolution should be used to support Highway Safety analysis planning, problem
Maintain historical traffic counts and roadway realignments
Location information for all crashes reported in the state
Examples of Questions the Roadway Data Component Should be Able to
1. Which locations are candidates for in-depth engineering safety review?
2. Are specific roadway’s attributes appropriate to the vehicle mix, volume and speeds experienced on
3. What are the crash characteristics and morbidity associated with various types of roadways?
4. Are different communities experiencing different crash characteristics and/or morbidity?
TSIS Guidelines 20 10/30/2003
The Injury Control Data Component
This Guideline discusses the Injury Control Data Component of a Traffic Safety Information System and how
it might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or local
What is an Injury Control Data Component:
Injury control is important as the only source of definitive data about the deaths, injuries, severity and cost
that can be used to target priorities that will have the most impact on reducing the injury and financial
consequences of motor vehicle crashes.
Motor vehicle traffic crashes often represent one of the more significant causes of injuries in terms of
frequency and cost to the community. Injury Control data document the medical and financial outcomes for
persons injured as the result of a motor vehicle traffic crash.
Data for the Injury Control Data Component are collected on medical records including EMS run reports,
emergency department (ED) records, hospital/rehabilitation inpatient discharge data, death certificates and
outpatient records, and non-medical records such as crash, insurance claims, other traffic records and
roadway inventories. The figure below indicates that when these data are linked, it is possible to track a
victim of a motor vehicle crash at the scene, en route, at the emergency department and after hospital
admission and discharge as an inpatient. In addition, the act of sharing and linking crash and injury data are
tangible evidence of collaboration for the benefit for injury prevention.
Injury Control Information Flow Diagram
Injury data are defined more precisely as the victim moves from the scene to final discharge as an inpatient.
Police at the scene use general terms. Type and area of injury are defined as bleeding, amputation, broken
bones, head, neck back etc. Injury severity is defined in terms of the victim’s level of functioning at the scene
TSIS Guidelines 21 10/30/2003
using the KABCO scale (K-killed, A-incapacitating injury, B-non-incapacitating injury, C-possible injury, 0-no
injury). EMS personnel at the scene (or emergency department personnel in the absence of EMS transport)
provide the first medical information. Vital signs (blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate,) and
components of the Glasgow Coma Score (eye-opening, verbal response, motor) provide the first physiologic
measures of injury severity. At both the emergency department and hospital, descriptions of the type and
area of injury are more detailed, for example hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, etc. They also are coded at
discharge using the International Classification of Diseases, 9 Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM).
An anatomic measure of injury severity, the injury severity score (ISS), can be generated from these codes.
The use of safety equipment (belts, helmets, etc.) is computerized on the crash and usually on the pre-
hospital EMS data files, but not the computerized hospital discharge data files. Data quality varies by data
element and by state. Safety equipment utilization may be overstated, particularly when mandated by state
legislation. The presence of alcohol, also documented on crash and pre-hospital EMS records, may be
understated, particularly when legal limits are legislated. Access to information about alcohol involvement in
crashes coded on hospital records (ED and inpatient) may be restricted by legislation. Not all injuries may be
reported on the crash report; and not all injuries reported actually are injuries. However, crash data quality
may improve during the linkage process. Hospital (Ed and inpatient) data are considered more reliable
because they are abstracted by trained medical records technicians and used for billing purposes.
Medical records and insurance claims are initially collected for purposes other than highway safety. Access
to these data is more restricted than to the non-medical data because of the need to protect patient
confidentiality. Thus, highway safety must collaborate with public health to jointly address the issue of
highway safety and injury control. A useful mechanism for this collaboration is the state’s Traffic Records
Coordinating Committee (TRCC) which includes representatives from all stakeholders involved in highway
safety and injury control.
Linkage of the injury data to the roadway and other traffic records such as citations, vehicle registration, and
driver licenses expands the comprehensiveness of the information about the person, vehicle, and event that
can be linked to medical and financial outcomes.
Who Uses an Injury Control Data:
Injury control data are used by public and private entities responsible for highway safety to target resources
that will have a direct impact on reducing deaths, injuries, injury severity and health care costs caused by
motor vehicle crashes.
Characteristics of an Injury Control Data Component:
Should promote collaboration among data owners to use published standards such as:
o Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC)
o Uniform Prehospital EMS Data Set
o Data Elements for Emergency Data Systems (DEEDS)
o Uniform Billing 1992 (UB92)
Should promote uniform content that includes sufficient direct and indirect identifiers for the person
involved and the specific event to facilitate linkage.
Should promote use of the KABCO scale (K-killed, A-incapacitating injury, B-non-incapacitating injury,
C-possible injury, 0-no injury) in crash data to document level of functioning at the scene and to
Should include death certificate and medical examiner data to track the location and cause of death.
Should link police crash data with EMS, ED, and hospital inpatient data.
Should also link roadway, citation/conviction, driver licensing, vehicle registration, and other traffic
records when available to ensure comprehensive information about the person, vehicle and event
so that prevention efforts can be targeted to the appropriate population.
Should include financial information to justify safety legislation in terms of reducing costs to society.
Should include a Global Positioning System (GPS) for locations and integrate GPS data with a
Geographic Information System (GIS) for analysis.
TSIS Guidelines 22 10/30/2003
Should include insurance claims data to obtain information about motor vehicle crash victims treated
and discharged from outpatient settings (physician office/clinics/free-standing care facilities) which
do not submit data for merging and analysis at the state level.
Should support a uniform reporting threshold and electronic data capture/exchange statewide so that
data are collected for all people, both injured and non-injured, involved in motor vehicle crashes.
Should include statewide population based crash outcome data to ensure sufficient data for the
surveillance of infrequent crash characteristics and analysis of their significance.
Should apply the confidentiality standards of medical data to all linked data files.
Should distribute motor vehicle related health protected information according to the requirements of
the HIPAA-Privacy Act and state legislation/regulations governing patient confidentiality.
Should enable crash, pre-hospital EMS and other medical data to be available when needed at the
time of treatment during each phase of the medical emergency to ensure continuity of patient care.
Should monitor responsiveness of the EMS/trauma system to motor vehicle crashes.
Should support a system’s approach to the evaluation of EMS and trauma system effectiveness for
victims of motor vehicle crashes.
Should include an inventory of health care providers and facilities, preferably derived from licensing
information, to ensure that appropriate resources that match patient need are available in a timely
and effective manner.
Should promote collaboration between public safety and the public health communities to facilitate
the collection and distribution of data for injury control related to motor vehicle crashes.
Should provide training for collectors and users of the data to assure the quality of the data collection
and the proper use and interpretation of the data by end-users.
Should include data that are timely, complete, accurate and comprehensive to support data-driven
highway safety decisions.
Short Term Considerations
Have you performed an inventory of your state’s crash and injury computerized state data?
For data that are not computerized, have you begun a strategic planning effort using your state’s
Traffic Records Coordinating Committee (TRCC) to coordinate the development of these systems?
Are crash, other traffic records and injury data uniform statewide according to national guidelines?
What restrictions are placed upon the use and distribution of the crash and injury data?
Are crash and injury data available in a timely manner to medical providers at the emergency
department and hospital?
Are there common identifiers in the various crash and injury data systems to facilitate linkage? What
variables are available for linkage?
Long Term Considerations
Has your state applied for CODES funding to link crash and injury control data?
Has your state linked crash and injury control data?
Are outcome based linked data available in a timely manner for critical highway safety decision
What restrictions are placed upon the use and distribution of the linked crash and injury data?
Are there public use files for the crash and injury data and for the linked data? How are they
Does your GIS system include linked crash and injury outcome data?
TSIS Guidelines 23 10/30/2003
Examples of Questions an Injury Control Data Component Should be
Able to Answer:
1. Are victims of motor vehicle crashes statewide receiving appropriate medical care in a timely manner?
2. What characteristics of the person, vehicle and event are most associated with high severity injuries
and/or high health care costs?
3. Where should resources be targeted in the state to have most impact on reducing deaths, injuries, injury
severity and costs?
4. What population groups (by age, gender, etc.) and types of crashes should be targeted to have the most
impact on reducing deaths, injuries, injury severity and costs?
5. Are injury control data available in a timely manner to support data driven critical highway safety
TSIS Guidelines 24 10/30/2003
The Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data
This Guideline discusses the Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component of a Traffic Safety
Information System and how it might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at
the Federal, state or local level.
What is an Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component:
The Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component identifies arrest and conviction activity for
drivers in the state, including information which tracks a citation from the time of its distribution to an
enforcement jurisdiction, through its issuance to an offender, and its ultimate disposition by a court.
Information obtained will identify the type of violation, location, date and time, the enforcement agency, court
of jurisdiction, and final disposition. The information is used to determine appropriate enforcement activity,
accounting and control of citation forms, monitoring of court activity regarding the disposition of traffic cases,
and identification of problem drivers. This data component provides the convictions and pending cases in the
driver licensing data component. The Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component represents
a significant portion of all the information flow in a Traffic Safety Information System.
Who Uses an Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data
Law enforcement agencies – for enforcement program planning and monitoring
Driver licensing and suspension authorities – for problem driver identification
Courts – as part of driver history, monitoring, ideally as automated case entry
Independent contractors with citation issuance authority – for planning and monitoring
Motor carrier officials – for problem driver and problem carrier identification
Highway safety office – for problem identification, program planning, monitoring and evaluation
Highway engineering offices, in conjunction with other TSIS data – for problem location analysis
Lawmakers – for policy analysis
Prosecutors – for planning and problem-driver identification
Characteristics of an Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data
An Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Data Component should be able to:
Provide history information to the officer in the field
Is the driver’s conviction history available to the officer in the field?
Are pending cases available?
Is there a legal reference tool for use by officers?
TSIS Guidelines 25 10/30/2003
Collect traffic citation data in the field, ideally electronically
Is there a statewide uniform citation?
Are all contacts documented properly to ensure professionalism?
Does the system take advantage of bar-coding or magnetic strip technology?
Is there a consistent location system used to identify where citations are written?
Move citations to the court and state citation database, ideally electronically
Are courts provided with timely and accurate driver history?
Are pending cases included in that history?
Pass adjudication data to enforcement agency, state citation database, and other states (for out-of-
state drivers) electronically
Is adjudication information captured for all citations?
Are these data posted to the driver history in a timely manner?
Do enforcement agencies have good data for planning and training?
Pass data to other systems, particularly driver licensing; link to and or access to crash and other data
Are data available in a timely manner to other state, local or Federal data systems?
Are data coding standards used (e.g. ANSI D20)?
Provide citation/conviction data for analysis in a timely manner
Are summary and detail data available for program and legislative support?
Are data available for public information needs?
Are data transferred in a timely manner?
Are data available in a usable form for analysis?
Can citation data be linked to crash, roadway, driver and vehicle files?
Capture all traffic citations issued, regardless of agency or whether issued under state law or municipal
Is there a tracking process for accountability by the officer, enforcement agency and court?
Is there a uniform citation?
Examples of Questions an Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication
Data Component Should Be Able to Answer:
1. Who are the problem drivers in the state?
2. Are there locations that appear to be problematic based on citations?
3. Who are the problem motor carriers in the state?
4. Are enforcement programs effective (in conjunction with crash data) ?
5. Nature of problems in enforcement, prosecution or adjudication?
6. What is the relationship between enforcement locations and crash locations?
7. How many speeding citations were written; where and when?
8. Are there different violation patterns among younger drivers that should be addressed through
legislation (e.g. GDL)?
Sample Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Flow Chart:
As an example, here is a chart depicting the flow of information in an actual state’s Enforcement / Prosecution
/ Adjudication system. Although each state’s organizational structure and specific requirements would vary,
this example gives a good representation of an efficient functioning system.
TSIS Guidelines 26 10/30/2003
Sample Enforcement / Prosecution / Adjudication Flow Chart:
Supplier 5 18
Police 3, 4, 6
Court City / Individual DMV –
Attorney Record for
Drawing 2 - B Connect to
19 Drawing 2 - A
TSIS Guidelines 27 10/30/2003
DRAWINGS 2A & 2B
DMV – Produces and
Sends Driving Drawing
Record to Court 2 -B
Decision to DMV
Legend for Drawings 1 and 2
Uniform Citation Manager issues contract to produce x sets of Uniform Citation Forms packaged with
x sets per book. Each set to be numbered with an x position control number.
Copy 1 provided to individual and clearly marked on right side for individual. This copy will
have instructions to individual on court location, telephone number, instructions on
payment of fine or appearance in court.
Copy 2 to court for scheduling purposes and clearly marked on right side for court. This copy
will have affidavit printed (on reverse side) for individual to agree that the officer has
explained what offense was committed and the individual's right to appear in court or to
prepay the fine (if possible). If no prepayment of fine is possible, a block will be clearly
TSIS Guidelines 28 10/30/2003
marked stating that a court appearance is mandatory and that if the individual fails to
appear, the court will report this to DMV who will suspend their Driver's License.
Copy 3 to prosecutor for scheduling purposes and clearly marked on right side.
Copy 4 for officer and clearly marked on right side for officer.
Copy 5 to DMV for production of driving record for court appearance.
1. Supplier receives order for citation forms from citation manager or individual law enforcement agency,
produces the required quantity in the specified format and delivers citation forms to uniform citation
manager or law enforcement agency. Supplier supplies citation manager with citation numbers and
agency directly receiving citations.
2. Uniform citation manager receives supply of citation forms and records the shipment on the citation control
file. The citation manager also records citations shipped directly to law enforcement agencies on the
citation control file.
3. As shipments of citation books are shipped to law enforcement agencies, the citation control file is updated
to show shipment of citation books. As law enforcement agencies receive a shipment of citation books,
the agency records are updated to show receipt of the books.
4. Law enforcement agencies distribute citation books to officers as required and update agency records.
5. Law Enforcement Officers issue a citation and turn in the citation set to the agency for distribution.
6. Law enforcement agency records the issuance of the citation in their agency records and distributes the
citation set to indicated recipients.
7. Law enforcement agency notifies uniform citation manager of the issuance of the summons.
8. Uniform citation manager updates the citation control file to indicate the issuance of a summons.
9. DMV produces a driving record and sends the driving record to the indicated court.
10. Court hears case and renders decision.
11. Court notifies DMV and uniform citation manager of disposition of case.
12. Uniform citation manager updates the citation control file.
[Penalty Assessment Citations (Payable with no court appearance) denoted by dotted lines.]
13. Law Enforcement Officers issue a penalty assessment (PA) citation and turn in the (PA) citation set to the
law enforcement agency for distribution.
14. Law enforcement agency records the issuance of the PA citation in their records and distributes the PA
citation sets to indicated recipients. The court and attorney/prosecutor copies go to DMV.
15. Enforcement agency notifies uniform citation manager of the issuance of the PA citation.
16. Uniform citation manager updates the citation control file to indicate the issuance of a PA citation.
17. If penalty assessment citation is paid, DMV notifies uniform citation manager of disposition of case.
18. Uniform citation manager updates the citation control file.
TSIS Guidelines 29 10/30/2003
19. If PA citation is not paid in allotted time, DMV forwards court and attorney copies to them with driving
record. PA citation then follows steps 10, 11, and 12 the same as a regular citation.
TSIS Guidelines 30 10/30/2003
The Motor Carrier Data Component
This Guideline discusses the Motor Carrier Data Component of a Traffic Safety Information System and how it
might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or local level.
What is a Motor Carrier Data Component:
Most states and the Federal government maintain one or more databases which are based on motor carriers.
At the state level, the data are usually collected as part of a system to register certain motor carriers, have
them prove insurance, and collect fees and taxes. The motor carrier data may be maintained by the state
department of transportation, revenue or taxation department, a public service commission, or a variety of
other agencies. Usually the data only includes “for hire” motor carriers. There is no standard format for the
data maintained among the states, but a core of identification data usually exists to simply identify those for-
hire motor carriers which are authorized to operate in the state. Some states have separate databases of
carriers authorized to transport hazardous materials, or other special categories such as household goods
carriers. In other states, these categories are recorded in the primary motor carrier registration database.
It should be noted that these databases differ from others because they focus on the motor carrier. Vehicle
registration systems are based primarily on vehicle owners, as are state fuel tax systems. These owners may
not be the motor carriers which operate the vehicles
Typically we refer to commercial vehicle data or data systems, but the emphasis for safety enforcement
purposes is actually on “motor carriers.” The term “motor carrier” is generally used to refer to a company that
operates some type of truck (from van to tractor-trailer) or passenger vehicle (van or bus) in commercial use.
The term could apply to a small retail store having a delivery van that never leaves the area, to a major
trucking company operating over 10,000 tractor-trailers internationally.
A variety of classification systems may be applied to motor carriers. These classifications determine which
Federal and state regulations may apply to them. Most commonly, motor carriers are classified as to
whether they operate only intrastate versus interstate, and whether they are “for hire” versus “private.”
Further classifications could be by type of cargo carried (e.g. hazardous materials), vehicle configurations or
sizes used (e.g., over 10,000 lbs. GVWR), or nature of operation (e.g., farm, government).
Most private and for-hire interstate motor carriers which operate vehicles over 10,000 lbs. GVWR, having a
capacity of nine or more persons, or carrying certain levels of hazardous materials are required to register
with the FMCSA and obtain a “USDOT number,” which must be displayed on the vehicle. (In the case of an
owner-operator who hauls for more than one carrier, they must actually change the carrier name and USDOT
number on the vehicle to match the carrier they are operating for at that point in time.) This “USDOT
number” is the most commonly used key identifier for motor carrier data. Many states are now being
authorized by the FMCSA to issue USDOT numbers with a state suffix (e.g., USDOT 12345678OH) for
intrastate carriers as well. The FMCSA was directed by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination
Act of 1995 (ICCTA) to adopt a unified carrier registration system to replace many of the Federal systems
currently in place. The FMCSA has indicated (66 FR 27057, 5/16/2001) that it is in the process of preparing
proposed rules for the adoption of a Uniform Carrier Registry (UCR).
Through the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Deployment Program, Federal
and State government agencies work together with the motor carrier industry to develop and deploy cost
effective information systems and communication networks that provide electronic access to timely and
accurate motor carrier safety and other information. The CVISN deployment program integrates State,
Federal, and private sector information systems and communications networks that support commercial
vehicle operations. The CVISN architecture provides a technical framework for States, the Federal
TSIS Guidelines 31 10/30/2003
government, and private stakeholders to electronically collect and exchange motor carrier safety and
interstate registration and tax payment information.
CVISN System Design
CVISN System Design - Stakeholder View
S tat e S ys tem s C V IS N
C V A d m i ni s tr a ti on C or e In fr a st r uct ure
W e b S ite
C ar ri e r S y ste m s LSI/LM LSI/LMLSI/LM LSI/LM
C re de n tia lin g In t e rfa ce
M u l ti -S t ate S y s te m s
C DL I S
LSI L LSI L LSI/L LSI L
F l ee t & F r e ig h t M a n ag em e n t Fu e l Ta x IR P/ I n tra st at e
In te rn e t T o o ls (e. g ., B row se r) O S /O W T itl in g IR P C le arin g ho u s e
/ M / M
C rede nt ia lin g System (e .g., C AT ) S S RS H az M at IF T A C le a rin g h ou se
O t h er Ca rrie r S ys C D L / DL T r ea su ry
N M VT I S
E -S cre e nin g En ro llm e n t
C o m m e rc i al V eh ic l e ( on -b o a rd )
C V S a fe ty A dm in & In fo E x c ha ng e F M C S A S y s tem s
On -B o a rd C o m m un ic a tion
SA F ET Y N ET M C M IS
In s p e c tio n s
(e . g ., A S P E N , I S S -2 , P I Q ) S A FE R
C i ta tio n & M
C VI EW A c ci d e n t L ice n sin g & I n su ra nce
Co mp liance R ev (e. g. , CA P RI )
C om plia n ce R e v (e .g . , C A P R I)
E l e ctr o n i c S c re en i ng
S c re e n in g R oa d sid e Op s
S e n sor/ D r ive r C o m m
In te rn a tio na l T ra d e F in a n cia l In stitu tio n s
D at a S ys te m (IT DS ) C o m m er c ia l / G o v e rn m e n t
W i re l in e / W ire le s s S e rv ic e s In fo R e q u es t er
N atio nal C rime (e .g ., In te rne t, AA M VAn e t, N L ET S, F T S 200 0)
Info rm atio n C ente r (NC IC ) Sh ip p e r
0 6/ 12 /2 0 00 1 6 :03 4
Functions a Motor Carrier Data Component Should Support:
At the state level, the Motor Carrier Data Component is primarily used to ensure that for-hire motor carriers
have properly registered with the state, proved insurance, and paid required fees and taxes. When linked to
other data components such as crash records, compliance reviews (audits), vehicle inspections, and traffic
citations, the Motor Carrier Data Component may be used by state enforcement agencies to identify those
motor carriers and commercial vehicle drivers having safety problems. Information drawn from these linked
databases when tied to the motor carrier identification databases provide the vital safety information needed
to target audits of motor carriers and inspections of commercial vehicles and drivers.
At the Federal level, the FMCSA maintains a major Motor Carrier Identification Component as part of its Motor
Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). MCMIS also contains information on compliance reviews,
commercial vehicle crash data, enforcement actions taken against motor carriers and roadside inspections.
At the State level SAFETYNET is the distributed component of MCMIS operating in State offices and Federal
field offices both as local management information systems and to communicate carrier data; such as
inspections, crashes, and compliance reviews, electronically to and from MCMIS.
The components of MCMIS provide the data needed to target motor carrier safety enforcement programs.
These data are used in the algorithms of the Safety Status Measurement System (SAFESTAT). SAFESTAT
is a data-driven, performance-based algorithm used to identify potentially high-risk carriers in four areas --
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accidents, driver violations, vehicle violations, and safety management records. Unlike previous carrier
selection methodologies, SAFESTAT recognizes that a carrier's recent accident history is the most significant
indicator of safety performance.
Who Uses a Motor Carrier Data Component:
In addition to the Federal and State Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) managers and
personnel, users include a much broader community such as:
States and local agencies
o law enforcement
o vehicle registration
o taxation authorities
Truck and Bus companies
Timely, high quality and complete safety data can do much to improve both carrier safety performance and
program effectiveness. Often, shippers consider safety performance in hiring carriers, and carriers use the
information to select drivers. Thus, the availability of complete data on a carrier and driver safety
performance can be a strong incentive to improve their performance. Enhancements to crash data can also
lead to more effective and targeted programs and policies.
Characteristics of a Motor Carrier Data Component:
A Motor Carrier Data Component should have the following characteristics:
Both private and for-hire motor carriers should be included if possible.
Identification must be keyed to a unique identifier, preferably a USDOT number.
Any other available identifiers should be included if permitted by law.
Addresses should be clearly defined as to whether they are primary places of business, mailing
addresses only, terminals, etc.
The carrier’s entire “doing business as” (DBA) names should be included.
The data should be re-certified by the carrier annually, or every two years at a minimum.
If the data indicates whether a carrier is currently authorized to operate in the state and/or has valid
insurance coverage, any suspension or revocation of privileges should be immediately posted.
Enforcement personnel as well as others should have immediate access to the data.
Should incorporate the architecture and operational concepts of CVISN.
Fields of data should be categorized by timeliness needed (real time, daily, weekly, etc.) to support
enforcement and other users.
Examples of Questions a Motor Carrier Component Should be Able to
What carriers have drivers that have been involved in two or more serious traffic violations (speed,
alcohol) in the past three years, irrespective of the type of vehicle they were operating?
What intrastate carriers were involved in more than five traffic crashes in the past year?
What drivers in commercial vehicle crashes were not properly licensed at the time of the crash?
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The Exposure Data Component
This Guideline discusses the Exposure Data Component of a Traffic Safety Information System and how it
might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or local level.
What is an Exposure Data Component:
Exposure Data comprise the denominators used as normalizing factors for highway safety analysis. The
denominators include measures of traffic volume, registered vehicles, licensed drivers, and population.
Normalization allows valid comparisons across locations, types of vehicles or groups of people while
accounting for differences in usage or population. Feasibly, exposure measures are subdivided by political
subdivisions, other geographic areas, demographics, and vehicle and roadway characteristics.
Key Exposure Measures
Traffic volume is based on traffic counts done by state and local highway agencies. It is usually
expressed as average annual daily traffic (AADT) or annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Volume
data are generally available for segments of roadway
Counts of registered vehicles by type and political subdivision (and perhaps zip code). For some
questions, counts of specific vehicle models may be required.
Counts of licensed drivers by age, gender, ethnicity, and political subdivision (and perhaps zip code)
Population statistics on the basis of census geography and political subdivisions
Exposure data allow for the computation of rates, which are usually a better measure than simple counts. For
Crash rate = crashes per 100 Million vehicle miles traveled
Injury risk = injuries per 100,000 population
Crash risk = crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers
Rollover risk = rollovers per 1,000 crashes
Who Uses an Exposure Data Component:
Exposure data are central to almost all types of highway safety analysis.
Highway agencies – to identify problem locations and compare crash experience across locations or
Highway Safety Office – to plan and evaluate programs;
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Any organization that does problem identification, analysis or evaluation to compare experience over
time or across locations.
Characteristics of an Exposure Data Component:
The importance of valid definitions and consistent application of exposure measures cannot be overstated.
Although each type of exposure data may come from a different source, consistent exposure data should be
available to all potential users.
Traffic volume data
o Are traffic volume data available for road segments?
o Is traffic on all public roads included?
o Are historical volume data available for trend analysis and evaluation?
o Are data from the decennial census and annual estimates available?
o Are demographic data available at relevant levels of geography?
o Can incident data be aggregated to those levels of geography?
Driver License data
o Are counts of licensed drivers available by age, gender and geography?
o Are historical data available?
Vehicle Registration data
o Are counts of registered vehicles available by year, make, model and geography?
o Are historical data available?
Are the current exposure data sufficient for safety analysis? The following questions may be used to
assess the exposure data component, and how that data are used within the Traffic Safety Information
Does the system maintain and use population demographics in safety analysis?
Does the system maintain and use traffic volumes in safety analysis?
Does the system maintain and use driver demographic data in safety analysis?
Are demographic data available in sufficient detail (e.g. by age, gender, ethnicity, geography) for
Are exposure data available to support multi-year analyses? (e.g. are there driver counts for the prior
Is there a central source/clearinghouse for exposure data?
Do users know where to obtain the different types of exposure data?
Are exposure data documented in sufficient detail to help users avoid common errors in usage?
Steps to ensure that the exposure data component is being used efficiently, effectively and correctly could be:
Establish a clearinghouse for exposure measures.
Develop a users’ guide for exposure measures
Secure analytic training and/or analytic support for users of highway safety data.
Examples of Questions an Exposure Data Component Should be Able to
Key questions that an exposure data system can help answer are:
Who is most at risk for crashes or citations (age, gender, type of driver’s license held, etc.) ?
Is an intersection “A” with 100 crashes really more dangerous than intersection “B” with 20 crashes?
(As measured in annual million vehicles entering the intersection)?
TSIS Guidelines 36 10/30/2003
Are heavy trucks more likely to be in crashes than passenger cars? (As measured in vehicle miles
traveled by the particular vehicle type and in terms of the number of vehicles registered in the state of
that type) ?
Do graduated driver licensing laws improve the safety of young novice drivers?
Is a particular model of SUV prone to rollover crashes?
Do roundabouts improve safety?
TSIS Guidelines 37 10/30/2003
The Data Analysis Process Component
This Guideline discusses the Data Analysis Process Component of a Traffic Safety Information System and
how it might be configured and operated to support the highway safety programs at the Federal, state or local
What is a Data Analysis Process Component:
The Data Analysis Process Component includes the procedures, documents, data sets and analytic tools
used to characterize the traffic safety experience for a specific locale (a piece of roadway up to a state or
even the nation), a specific population (as defined by demographics, residence, or behaviors), a type of
vehicle and/or a set of circumstances. The Data Analysis Process Component typically refers to aggregate
data drawn from other components into a data set specifically generated to support the effort to answer key
highway safety questions. Analyses can be routine (as in monthly indicators of system performance, annual
crash facts, etc.) or ad hoc (to answer questions that have not been submitted for analysis in the past). The
Data Analysis Process Component can make use of simple tools such as spreadsheets or even manual
tallies, but may also involve expert-level use of data analysis software packages for statistical data analysis,
geographic analysis, or modeling.
Who Uses a Data Analysis Process Component:
Operation of the Data Analysis Process Component is typically limited to experienced, highly skilled
personnel trained in the specific analytic procedures and software to be used. These individuals usually have
extensive knowledge of the data contained in other TSIS components and have the skills necessary to allow
manipulation of those sources in combination to produce a new data set for analysis. Users of the results of
the analysis include all highway safety professionals and interested parties from outside the highway safety
professions (legislators, the press, students, community groups, etc.).
Functions a Data Analysis Process Component Should Support:
Standardized reporting of safety information
Ad hoc reporting of safety information
Quality control of all TSIS components’ data
Program (countermeasure) evaluation
Safety resource allocation
Legislation and policy development and effectiveness evaluation
Public information program content development
TSIS component improvement
Valid comparison of crash experience among locales
Valid comparison of crash experience among sub-populations
Valid comparison of crash experience among vehicle types
Valid comparison of crash experience based on sets of circumstances
Optional user access to analysis results via Internet or CD
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What a Data Analysis Process Component Should Contain:
Data from any other TSIS component
Linking variables to tie crashes to other TSIS source data
Descriptive statistics derived from linked data sets
Trend data describing changes over time
Comparative data for contrasting differences in locales, populations, vehicles or circumstances
Results of statistical tests and significance levels
Information on the limitations of data and/or analyses
Examples of Questions the Data Analysis Process Component Should
be Able to Answer:
What was the effect of passing the _______ law on traffic safety?
Which communities/subpopulations have the highest risk for crash-related morbidity and mortality?
What types of crashes are most likely for specific types of drivers or vehicles?
Which drivers are most at risk for crash involvement? Crash-related injuries or fatalities?
Do seat belts save lives? Do air bags? How many?
What is the profile of the average DUI driver? Of drivers without a valid license?
What are the days and times when alcohol involved crashes are most likely to occur?
Per mile driven, what vehicle types are most likely to be involved in crashes?
Is the rollover propensity of a specific vehicle model higher than for similar vehicles?
Does the survivability of crashes vary by the location type (urban, rural, etc.)?
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For Further Information:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has undertaken the development of these
Traffic Safety Information System Guidelines. The guidelines, which will include flyers and PowerPoint slide
shows, are intended to provide those responsible for the operation, maintenance and planning of the various
data systems that comprise the TSIS with information that can assist them in their planning of systems
upgrades or implementations. As the library of documents and reference files are compiled, they will be
placed at the NHTSA Traffic Records & Driver Licensing web site:
Additional information is available at the website of the National Safety Council’s Association of
Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP): http://www.atsip.org .
For further information on this TSIS Guidelines Series, contact:
NHTSA - Traffic Records
400 Seventh Street SW, Room 5125
Washington, DC 20590
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Appendix A – Glossary and References
AGENCIES / ORGANIZATIONS
ABBREVIATION NAME WEBSITE
AAA AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety http://www.aaafoundation.org/home/
American Assoc of Motor Vehicle
American Assoc of State Highway and
ANSI American National Standards Institute http://www.ansi.org/
American Public Health Association
(Inj Control, EMS Section)
Association of Transportation Safety
Information Professionals (NSC)
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
CDC Centers for Disease Control (USHHS) http://www.cdc.gov/
Census U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/
Crash Injury Research and
Engineering Network 50/ciren/ciren.html
CVSA Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance http://www.cvsa.org/
Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Federal Highway Administration
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ABBREVIATION NAME WEBSITE
Institute of Electrical and Electronics
ITE Institute of Transportation Engineers http://www.ite.org/
Intelligent Transportation Society of
National Highway Transportation
Safety Administration (USDOT)
NSC National Safety Council http://www.nsc.org/
National Transportation Research
NTSB National Transportation Safety Board http://www.ntsb.gov/
Traffic Records Committee
Turner Fairbank Highway Research
VOLPE The Volpe Center (USDOT/RSPA)) http://www.volpe.dot.gov/
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DATA AND INFORMATION SOURCES & SYSTEMS
Commercial Vehicle Information Systems & Networks (CVISN)
Deployment Program (FMCSA)
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is the application of computers, communications, and sensor
technology to surface transportation. Used effectively, ITS opens the door to new ways of understanding,
operating, expanding, refining, reconfiguring, and using the transportation system. ITS and the
communication networks it provides advances the safety, efficiency, and security of the surface transportation
system, provides increased access to transportation services, and reduces fuel consumption and
environmental impact. It also serves as the means by which to better detect possible problems and manage
the transportation system during times of crisis, including national disasters and security breeches. ITS for
Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) applies the development and deployment of advanced technology,
and the implementation of information systems and communications networks to support safe, secure, and
legal motor carrier operations, and commercial vehicle and driver regulatory activities.
The term CVISN (pronounced “see-vision”) is not a new, additional information system, but refers to the
collection of information systems and communications networks that support CVO. It provides an architecture
and framework for existing and new information systems to exchange data electronically through the use of
standards and available communication networks. Since the mid-1990’s, the Federal government, State
agencies involved in motor carrier operations, the motor carrier industry, and the private sector has developed
a specific set of organizational and technical capabilities for CVISN deployment. These capabilities: 1.)
support the electronic collection and processing of motor carrier and commercial vehicle safety information to
roadside enforcement officials; 2.) automate the processes for interstate motor carriers to apply for, review,
and pay registration fees and returns on fuel taxes with State agencies, and allows States to participate in the
International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Agreement clearinghouses; and 3.) allow
transponder-equipped commercial vehicles to be electronically screened at one fixed or mobile roadside site,
with the capability ready to be replicated at additional sites.
Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) (NHTSA)
Injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes remain a major public health problem. These injuries cause an
unnecessary burden of increased taxes and insurance premiums. They can be prevented or reduced, but only
if we understand what the severity of these crashes are, and their associated health care costs. Crash data
alone do not indicate the injury problem in terms of the medical and financial consequences. By linking crash,
vehicle, and behavior characteristics to their specific medical and financial outcomes, we can identify
CODES evolved from a congressional mandate to report on the benefits of safety belts and motorcycle
helmets. NHTSA has funded Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Main,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York,
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and
Wisconsin to link statewide crash and injury data. Probabilistic linkage techniques make it possible for the
states to link large state data files in a phenomenally short amount of time at relatively low cost.
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Crashworthiness Data System (CDS)(NHTSA)
NHTSA’s Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) has detailed data on a representative, random sample of
thousands of minor, serious, and fatal crashes. Field research teams located at Primary Sampling Units
(PSU's) across the country study about 5,000 crashes a year involving passenger cars, light trucks, vans, and
utility vehicles. Trained crash investigators obtain data from crash sites, studying evidence such as skid
marks, fluid spills, broken glass, and bent guardrails. They locate the vehicles involved, photograph them,
measure the crash damage, and identify interior locations that were struck by the occupants. These
researchers follow up on their on-site investigations by interviewing crash victims and reviewing medical
records to determine the nature and severity of injuries. Interviews with people in the crash are conducted
with discretion and confidentiality. The research teams are interested only in information that will help them
understand the nature and consequences of the crashes. Personal information about individuals - names,
addresses, license and registration numbers, and even specific crash locations - are not included in any
public NASS files.
The data collected by the CDS research teams become permanent records. This information is used by
NHTSA for a variety of purposes, including:
Assessment of the overall state of traffic safety, and identification of existing and potential traffic
Obtaining detailed data on the crash performance of passenger cars, light trucks, vans, and utility
Evaluation of vehicle safety systems and designs.
Increasing knowledge about the nature of crash injuries, as well as the relationship between the type
and seriousness of a crash and the resultant injuries.
Assessment of the effectiveness of motor vehicle and traffic safety program standards. Evaluation of
alcohol and safety belt use programs.
Evaluation of the effect of societal changes, such as increased traffic flow and increased large truck
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) (NHTSA)
In order to improve traffic safety, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) in 1975. This
data system was conceived, designed, and developed by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis
(NCSA) to assist the traffic safety community in identifying traffic safety problems and evaluating both motor
vehicle safety standards and highway safety initiatives. FARS is one of the two major sources of data used at
the NCSA. Fatality information derived from FARS includes motor vehicle traffic crashes that result in the
death of an occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist within 30 days of the crash.
FMCSA Motor Carrier Links
Various links from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to data, analysis, and statistics
related to commercial motor vehicles.
TSIS Guidelines 46 10/30/2003
General Estimates System (GES) (NHTSA)
Data for GES come from a nationally representative sample of law enforcement reported motor vehicle
crashes of all types, from minor to fatal. The system began operation in 1988, and was created to identify
traffic safety problem areas, provide a basis for regulatory and consumer initiatives, and form the basis for
cost and benefit analyses of traffic safety initiatives. The information is used to estimate how many motor
vehicle crashes of different kinds take place and what happens when they occur. Although various sources
suggest that about half the motor vehicle crashes in the country are not reported to law enforcement, the
majority of these unreported crashes involve only minor property damage and no significant personal injury.
By restricting attention to law enforcement-reported crashes, GES concentrates on those crashes of greatest
concern to the highway safety community and the general public. GES data are used in traffic safety
analyses by NHTSA as well as other DOT agencies. GES data are also used to answer motor vehicle safety
questions from Congress, lawyers, doctors, students, researchers, and the general public.
Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) (FMCSA)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates and maintains the Motor Carrier
Management Information System (MCMIS). MCMIS contains information on the safety fitness of commercial
motor carriers and hazardous material (HM) shippers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
and the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This information is available to the general public through the
MCMIS Data Dissemination Program. Responsibility for disseminating this data and the authority to charge
prescribed fees for the data, have been delegated to a government contractor. (See website listed above for
MCMIS data ordering information.)
The MCMIS Data Dissemination Program currently offers:
Census File Extracts
Crash File Extracts
Carrier Safety Profiles
Personalized Census Reports
Personalized Crash Reports
Census Count Reports
Crash Count Reports
Census extracts and reports draw their data from the MCMIS Carrier File, which contains demographic and
safety information on about 600,000 active commercial motor carriers and HM shippers. Crash extracts and
reports can be produced from State-reported crashes. Each State-reported crash file covers a calendar year
of crashes (1993-Present) reported to the FMCSA and includes all Federally-recordable crashes involving a
Profile reports contain composite extracts from the MCMIS Census, Review, Enforcement, Crash, and
Inspection Files - the latter include the results of roadside driver-vehicle inspections conducted by Federal
and state safety agencies. Individual carrier information is also available on the internet at www.safersys.org.
TSIS Guidelines 47 10/30/2003
National Automotive Sampling System (NASS)(NHTSA)
NASS is composed of two systems - the Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) and the General Estimates
System (GES). Both systems are based on cases selected from a sample of law enforcement crash reports.
CDS data focus on passenger vehicle crashes, and are used to investigate injury mechanisms to identify
potential improvements in vehicle design. GES data focus on the bigger overall crash picture, and are used
for problem size assessments and tracking trends. Established in 1979, NASS was created as part of a
nationwide effort to reduce motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths on our nation's highways.
NASS collects crash data to help government scientists and engineers analyze motor vehicle crashes and
injuries. NASS collects detailed data on a representative random sample of hundreds of thousands of minor,
serious and fatal crashes involving passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, large trucks, motorcycles, and
The two components which make up NASS, the Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) and the General
Estimates System (GES), select cases from law enforcement crash reports (also known as PARS: Police
Accident Reports) at law enforcement agencies within randomly selected areas of the country. These areas
are counties and major cities that represent all areas of the United States. CDS data are collected by field
researchers who carefully study and record aspects of selected motor vehicle crashes to include exterior and
interior vehicle damage, occupant injury, crash scene investigation, environmental conditions at the time of
the crash, etc. GES data come from a larger sample of crashes, but only basic information is recorded from
the accident report and entered into the system.
National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) (NHTSA)
NCSA, an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency in the United
States Department of Transportation is responsible for providing a wide range of analytical and statistical
support to NHTSA and the highway safety community at large, in the general areas of:
Human, vehicle, environmental, and roadway characteristics, as they relate to crash frequency and
Identifying injury mechanisms and associated crash dynamics in motor vehicle crashes
Evaluating the effectiveness of crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and traffic safety efforts
Monitoring the magnitude of the traffic safety problem
Quantifying the benefits resulting from proposed agency rules.
For access to information available through the NCSA:
National Transportation Library (BTS)
The National Transportation Library is a repository of materials from public and private organizations around
the country. The Library is intended to facilitate the exchange of information related to transportation.
The National Transportation Library is administered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in cooperation
with the Transportation Administrative Services Center (TASC), the operating administrations and the Office
of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. TRIS Online, the largest and most
comprehensive source of information on published transportation research, is now on the web at
TSIS Guidelines 48 10/30/2003
Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) (FMCSA)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided carrier safety data to industry and the
public for many years via telephone requests. The Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System
now makes it possible to offer this information electronically. Limited SAFER functions are now provided free
of charge over the Internet. Access is provided to Carrier Snapshots, a concise electronic record of a carrier’s
identification, size, commodity information, and safety record, including the safety rating (if any), a roadside
out-of-service inspection summary, and crash information. The carrier snapshot is available via an ad-hoc
query (one carrier at a time). Other functions will be available for a fee at a later date. Developed by the
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and maintained by the Volpe National Transportation
Systems Center, under contract to the FMCSA, SAFER uses carrier information from existing government
motor carrier safety databases. Presently, it consists of interstate carrier data and several states' intrastate
data. Operational data such as inspections and crashes are generally only presented for interstate carriers,
but plans are to include them for the intrastate carriers at a later time.
Safety Status Measurement System (SAFESTAT) (FMCSA)
SafeStat is a data-driven analysis system of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that determines
the current relative safety status of individual motor carriers. SafeStat was developed at the Volpe Center for
the FMCSA. Data used are maintained and managed at the Federal level by the FMCSA.
Uses of SafeStat:
FMCSA Compliance Reviews (CRs):
Semiannually identifies and prioritizes carriers for on-site FMCSA compliance reviews.
Identifies and monitors poorly performing carriers for the PRISM Federal/State motor carrier safety
improvement process (MCSIP).
Inspection Selection System (ISS):
Supports recommendation of evaluated carriers’ drivers and vehicles for roadside inspections.
A&I Online (http://www.ai.volpe.dot.gov/)
Makes SafeStat results available via the Internet to industry and the public to promote safety
awareness and self-improvement.
Special Crash Investigations (SCI)(NHTSA)
Mission: To examine the safety impact of new, emerging, and rapidly changing technology (such as air bags
and alternative fuel systems) and for exploring alleged or potential vehicle defects. Since 1972, the Special
Crash Investigations (SCI) Program has provided NHTSA with the most in depth and detailed level of crash
investigation data collected by the agency. The data collected ranges from basic data maintained in routine
law enforcement and insurance crash reports to comprehensive data from special reports by professional
crash investigation teams. Hundreds of data elements relevant to the vehicle, occupants, injury mechanisms,
roadway, and safety systems involved are collected for each of the over 200 crashes designated for study
SCI cases are intended to be an anecdotal data set useful for examining special crash circumstances or
outcomes from an engineering perspective. The benefit of this program lies in its ability to locate unique real-
world crashes anywhere in the country, and perform in depth clinical investigations in a timely manner which
TSIS Guidelines 49 10/30/2003
can be utilized by the automotive safety community to improve the performance of its state-of-the-art safety
systems. Individual and select groups of cases have triggered both individual companies and the industry as
a whole to improve the safety performance of motor vehicles, including passenger cars, light trucks, or school
buses. Summary tables of air bag related fatal and serious injury cases are available, as are copies of
completed SCI reports.
Cases of interest are located from an extensive and diverse network of sources, including NHTSA's Auto
Safety Hotline, the Department of Transportation's National Crash Alert System, NHTSA's regional offices,
automotive manufacturers, other government agencies, law enforcement agencies, engineers, and medical
personnel. Actual case selection is based on the program manager's discretion. The program's flexibility
allows for the detailed investigation of any new emerging technologies, including the safety performance of
alternative fueled vehicles, child safety restraints, adapted vehicles, safety belts, vehicle-pedestrian
interactions, and potential safety defects. Historically, resources have been concentrated on crashes
involving automatic restraints (air bags and safety belts), and school buses.
Traffic Records & Driver Licensing (TRDL)(NHTSA)
To provide national leadership in the design, development, and implementation of integrated highway and
traffic safety records information systems.
NHTSA’S Traffic Records and Driver Licensing Team’s mission is to provide national leadership in the design,
development and implementation of integrated highway and traffic safety records information systems. The
Team’s mission, as well, is to provide national leadership and guidance in the development of uniform laws
and ordinances pertaining to the licensing of novice drivers and to promote the enactment of Graduated
Driver Licensing systems for the young driver.
To develop and direct a national program effort for establishing integrated highway and traffic safety
records systems in states to be characterized by high standards of data collection and an expanded role
for traffic records data as a management tool for highway safety program decisionmaking, research, and
To assist customers in assessing the quality, needs, and uses of their current traffic records data systems
and components; to provide appropriate tools and resources to enable them to carry out planning,
development, and evaluative activities.
TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR HIGHWAY AND TRAFFIC SAFETY INFORMATION SYSTEMS
To develop and promote, in concert with our partners, technical standards for data collection, analytic
methods, and highway safety program applications.
COLLABORATION & COOPERATION
To expand participation in collaborative and cooperative efforts with other DOT Offices, the states, and
with public and private organizations to ensure that the traffic records and highway safety communities
stay informed of technology advances and involved in the development and application of model traffic
records data systems.
To promote uniformity of traffic and driver licensing laws and driver control policies and practices.
To provide a service for customers, primarily states and highway safety organizations; to provide a gateway
for highway safety researchers by means of links, both direct and indirect. This activity supports the role and
responsibility of providing national leadership in the development, improvement and usefulness of highway
and traffic safety records.
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ANSI D.16 – Manual on Classification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents
This ANSI Standard provides detailed instruction on the classification of motor vehicle accidents. It is
available on-line and in hard copy from the National Safety Council.
ANSI D.20 – Data Element Dictionary for Traffic Records Systems
This ANSI Standard provides detailed guidelines of highway safety data systems including driver license,
vehicle registration, traffic crash, etc. It is available in hard-copy form from AAMVA.
Data Elements for Emergency Departments (DEEDS)
Standardized data elements and definitions for a minimum data set sponsored by CDC and developed with
the input of the major stakeholders of ED data. Uniform pre-hospital EMS Data Elements: Standardized data
elements and definitions for a minimum data set developed from a consensus process involving all EMS
stakeholders and sponsored by NHTSA.
Minimum Model Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC)
MMUCC are a voluntary set of guidelines that help states collect consistent, reliable crash data that are more
effective for identifying traffic safety problems, establishing goals and performance measures, and monitoring
the progress of programs.
Some of America's leading traffic safety experts worked together to develop the MMUCC guidelines, including
representatives from groups in safety, engineering, emergency medical services, law enforcement, public
health, and motor carriers.
UB92 (Hospital Data)
Uniform billing data set mandated for electronic submission to all third party payers of hospital inpatient,
emergency department and other medical services.
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