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Improving Roadway Safety: Crash Reduction Through Accurate Crash Reporting

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 51-56
David J. Mulholland; G. Matthew Snyder
Charles Higginbotham
Date Published
September 2002
6 pages
This article discusses the need for crash reporting by the police to become an essential risk management tool to prevent or reduce incidents of property damage, injuries, and deaths associated with motor vehicle crashes.
Due to the fact that there is a fatal motor vehicle crash every 13 minutes versus a homicide every 34 minutes, it is recommended in this article that law enforcement executives should prioritize reporting of motor vehicle crash data at the same level as that of criminal incident data because of the significant risk that frequent traffic-related incidents pose to communities. The receipt of timely crash data information is required to ensure better highway design and engineering, identify motor vehicle deficiencies, identify motor vehicle law deficiencies, increase public awareness, and provide better law enforcement personnel training and public education. It is recommended that officers investigating a crash be supplied with the proper computer technology to report crash data, including drop-down menus, a computerized check of the report for data conflicts or errors, handheld scanners, global positioning systems, and crash scene mapping software. The model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria guidelines are recommended for use in electronic reporting of crash data using standardized definitions and reporting format to aid in data analysis. TraCS, a Traffic and Criminal Software program, developed for use in Iowa, is recommended. This program enables crash data to be transmitted to transportation authorities and analysts within hours. In conclusion, the author provides a summary list of crash reporting steps for law enforcement agencies.


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