Preliminary National Safety Council (NSC) estimates show that 2016 may have been the deadliest year on the nation’s roads since 2007. As many as 40,000 people may have died as a result of motor vehicle crashes, while an estimated 4.6 million additional roadway users were seriously injured. This marks a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014. There is so much loss, but little is known about key driver behavior factors in these crashes, because critical data is under-reported.
Collecting data from a crash scene may be seen as merely “filling out accident reports” for violation and insurance purposes. Data collection efforts immediately following a crash provide a unique opportunity to help guide prevention strategies. Currently, some states are recording this type data and others are not. When data of this kind is requested to be reported on a crash report
and is entered, prevention professionals will have the data to better understand driver and non-motorist behaviors. When this data is not recorded, prevention professionals are left guessing.
There are two areas of crash factor data in which under-counting can be a detriment to prevention efforts on a national level:
- Factors that are difficult to observe and measure, such as driver behavior.
- Factors involving fast emerging communications entertainment technologies, and advanced driver assistance systems.