After our truck crash on May 4, 2013, we waited for months to receive the crash investigation report (SCRTE) from the state highway patrol. It was detailed but left out a lot of important information.
For example, there was no mention of underride in the report (or on the police crash form). Also, we were not able to find out any verification about the truck driver’s hours of service prior to the crash — except for his verbal report on when he had started out that day on his trip.
It is likely that this paucity of information has contributed to decades of delay in effectively solving the issues of truck underride and driver fatigue — among others.
Inadequate crash information is, in fact, the norm. What might we be able to discover and change were this situation to improve? The National Safety Council has raised this question:
The scope of deadly hazards such as texting and drug use by drivers may be underestimated and not adequately addressed because police aren’t collecting enough information at crash scenes, according to a new report.
The report, released today by the National Safety Council, also found that no state systematically records whether crashes involve vehicles with self-driving features, such as collision-avoidance systems.
The group said more attention must be focused on the problem with a shift from an “accident-report mentality” to crash investigation. It is important to know not just what happened, but why it happened, said Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the safety council, a nonprofit group.
“Better data enables us to make better decisions when it comes to our priorities, our investment and our technology,” she told FairWarning. . .
Safety researchers already conduct crash tests and computer simulations trying to determine how well a vehicle will protect its occupants. But detailed information from a crash is important to understand what happens in the real world, said Charles Farmer, the vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the insurance industry.
Researchers like Farmer have yearned for that information for at least three decades.
Since 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that regulates traffic safety, has been working with the Governors Highway Safety Association trying to get police to collect more detailed and standardized information. Their recommended Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria has 110 items.
Every state uses that form “to some degree and most states use most of the data elements,” said Barbara Harsha, former GHSA executive director.
Despite NHTSA and GHSA working on the issue for almost two decades, the safety council report concluded that “no state is adequately capturing the crash data we need to understand why crashes are rising, and form an effective path forward.”
Are we truly a country of united states? Can we work together more effectively to solve this issue or do we have such a high need to act independently to take care of it ourselves? Lives are at stake.
National Safety Council important report: Undercounted Is Underinvested; HOW INCOMPLETE CRASH REPORTS IMPACT EFFORTS TO SAVE LIVES