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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Completing the Picture of Crashes: Understanding Data Needs and Opportunities for Road Safety


Project Goal:

This project will supplement FMCSA crash data sets with additional sources of information, to complete the picture of large truck and bus crashes to better analyze trends and root causes.



Although traditional police recorded crash data has improved over time, additional data and analytics will provide a more “complete picture” of crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries. Linking current FMCSA crash data sets with these new data sources can provide the agency with a better understanding of motor carrier crashes and trends, and thus help it better allocate its resources. The interfacing of such information with existing FMCSA crash datasets will be enhanced over time, as new sources of data become available, such as NHTSA’s Electronic Data Transfer which captures nightly uploads of police accident reports directly from participating State crash data systems, and new tools are added to the suite of available software applications, such as Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and business intelligence/visualization software. The project will make effective use of these new capabilities to integrate multiple data sources, which the agency can then use to analyze underlying trends and root causes, develop crash prediction models, and create actionable information to support enforcement, rulemaking, education and outreach.



Since 2009, fatal crashes involving large trucks have steadily increased to 4,237 fatal crashes in 2017, a 46.5 percent increase when compared to 2009. Over that same time period, non-fatal crashes involving large trucks have increased by 57.6 percent to an estimated 446,000 such crashes. This study will leverage existing data sources external to the agency, to gain more insight into crashes involving large trucks and buses, including, but not limited to: •FHWA roadway inventory data •NHTSA FARS, CRSS and EDT •Economic data (e.g. truck sales, employment trends, etc.) Once identified, the various data sets will be integrated and analyzed. The analysis will allow FMCSA to identify areas of concern and develop countermeasures to drive new initiatives to reduce large truck and bus crashes on our nations roadways.



 Volpe Center