Category Archives: Uncategorized

MMUCC C9 Manner of Crash

Executive Summary: You may have never heard of the MMUCC (Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria; a set of federal guidelines), it trickles down into every state’s motor vehicle crash reporting system. It’s somewhat analogous to the relationship between the UVC and state’s vehicle codes. The problem, I should say one problem, is non-motorists tend to get overlooked. One obvious example is delved into here — the “Manner of Crash”, e.g. angle, rear-end, sideswipe, etc. is ONLY defined when it involves two motor vehicles, leaving that data-field undefined when a crash is between a MV and bicyclist. Since bicyclists are vehicle drivers, the MMUCC should reflect that. Read on for a proposed change that’s on the table, and how you can vote/comment officially: Continue reading MMUCC C9 Manner of Crash

Officer resigns – misunderstands jaywalking and ID law

[2/17/2015 update: Officer Ferrin has resigned. ASU released a chief’s letter and an independent investigation commissioned by ASU performed by  Investigative Research Inc.  (apparently through public records?) I would describe as scathing, and that corroborates most of what I thought/said below, see the lengthy news story on azcentral — There is no law requiring peds to provide an ID card (in other words his saying “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID” is wrong, see  Arizona v Akins, below); there was no ‘jaywalking’, see link below to the actual jaywalking laws; there was probably no probable cause for the arrest; he didn’t “almost run her over”; 5 days earlier the officer had a similar (but non-physical) power-trip incident over a crosswalk. and on and on. The transcript, see below, confirms Officer Ferrin doesn’t understand the (ID) law]

see are-cyclists-required-to-carry-id-are-pedestrians-updated-2014/

Rates of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatality by Vehicle Type

I first noticed several years ago when reviewing IIHS SUV safety data, that it has been noted by several studies published in the early 2000’s that a the risk of pedestrian death in a traffic collision varied widely depending on the vehicle type / bodystyle. The major categories of vehicle type are: Passenger Vehicles, Light Trucks (includes pickups, SUV, vans), Heavy Trucks, Motorcycles, and other (not sure exactly where Buses are).

Continue reading Rates of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatality by Vehicle Type

Stab-and-run; boats hit-and-run; road rage verdict

In odd automobility news (this is all local Phx metro, mind you), from Tues Jan 14, 2014 “Around the Valley” Arizona Republic, page B2…

Scottsdale: “According to police, the man was about to cross Cactus Road at its intersection with Hayden Road at about 6 a.m. when a dark colored, two-door vehicle that was driving southbound on Hayden stopped in front of him. The driver got out of the car and stabbed the man in the abdomen with a small blade, then immediately got back into the car and drove westbound on Cactus”

Mesa: “A hit and run at the Bass Pro Shops in Mesa early Saturday morning resulted in nearly $100,000 in damages to boats at the retailer… Mesa police were called out to the Bass Pro Shops near Loop-202 and Dobson Road at about 8:40 a.m. Saturday… While the vehicle was not present at the scene, police found a Ford emblem and a Triton V10 emblem… investigators believe the vehicle is possibly two-toned — gray on the bottom and white on the top — with heavy damage to the front-end”

Last Week

Road Rage incident from 2008: shooter found guilty at 2nd trial: “John Chester Stuart will spend the next 18 years in prison for shooting a man that came at Stuart’s car during a 2008 road-rage incident following the Phoenix Open. Stuart, 51, was convicted of second-degree murder and drive-by shooting in September for killing 49-year-old Tom Beasley. The conviction came after a jury reached an impasse during a rambunctious first trial that saw Stuart representing himself and relying on a legal theory that rejects much of the American justice system”. The was some odd goings on immediately after the incident involving purportedly faked document, and Stuart’s purported involvement in a group called the Freemen. Some other interesting associations; he founded/ran and something called the “quiet title process”.

Driver careens out of control after making bad left; killing and maiming peds ON THE SIDEWALK

Seriously, how often does stuff like this happen? More peds wiped out on the sidewalk. 11/30/2013 2:15pm 67th and Glendale Aves… In addition to the dead ped, another ped, and the driver have “life-threatening” injuries.  A glendale pd officer was also injured less seriously. Continue reading Driver careens out of control after making bad left; killing and maiming peds ON THE SIDEWALK

More Sprawl Costs

Az Republic story Liability for government-issued vehicles on the rise Stated some of the obvious; bigger, sprawly cities tend to have more driving by public-sector workers, invariably leading to more liability costs to cities/taxpayers. Just another socialized cost of sprawl and automobility.

The sidebar has some interesting dollar figures for a number of Phoenix-metro area cities (and Maricopa county), all were costs paid out by the municipality over the period from ~ 2008 through 20012. A small, compact city like Tempe clocks in at $806K, Scottsdale is up at $2M. Scottsdale at a population of ~ 221K people is somewhat larger than Tempe’s 164K; but certainly not nearly triple! But Scottsdale’s land area at 186 sq.mi. is way larger than landlocked, mostly built-out Tempe’s 40 sq.miles.

Phoenix is of course the 500 pound gorilla: $23M paid out, with 1.5M people, and a whopping 517 sq. miles of land area.

Statistically speaking, Chandler seems to have a quite-low payout ratio; $203K, 240K population and 58 sq.miles — so maybe Scottsdale is just an outlier 🙂

Data Collection of Bicyclist Helmet Use in Crashes

I have some questions/concerns/misgivings about helmet usage as it relates to bicyclist safety and crash reports. It seems to me that it is not well-reported…

Arizona Crash Report

Curiously, given the hoopla intense interest surrounding bicyclist helmet usage, there is NO place on the ACR to report whether or not a bicyclist was using a helmet. There is a block for each traffic unit(4dd) and passenger(5c), SafetyDevice  lists things like helmet/airbag/seatbelt and so forth. However, this block is always supposed to be coded 0/Not Applicable, and is explicitly never to be 1/None Used, or 5/Helmet Used for pedalcyclists. See p.23, 26 of 2010 Arizona’s Crash Report Forms Instruction Manual.

Clearly this is often coded not according to the manual, see below for some live data e.g. from 2010. We might guess that the 10% or so that say Helmet Used probably does mean those bicyclists had helmets, and likewise probably the 35% that said None Used probably means not helmet. But the other 55% is (from the data) anybody’s’ guess.

There is likewise no place on the ACR to code for nighttime crashes whether or not a bicyclist was using required lighting equipment (a front headlight or a rear taillight/reflector).


For 1994 through 2009; all persons including bicyclists and other pedalcyclists used the P10 Restraint/Helmet Use field. The column was called REST_USE in the person table.

From 2010 and later, this info was moved to a whole new dataset, the SafetyEq table. the column name is MSAFEQMT; and it’s slightly annoying because it’s indexed by ST_CASE (i.e. the case number), and person number. There can be any number of records for any given person.

The field is called NM13 Non-Motorist Safety Equipment “This element indicates the safety equipment that was used by the non-motorist
involved in the crash”, in the FAR Manual. In the FAR Validation Manual, there’s an elaborate confusing explanation of differentiating between Not Reported and Unknown. Allowable values are:

  1. None
  2. Helmet
  3. Reflective Clothing (jacket, backpack, etc.)
  4. Protective Pads Used (elbows, knees, shins, etc.)
  5. Lighting
  6. (not used)
  7. Other Safety Equipment
  8. Not Reported
  9. Unknown if Used


For reference, you can see‘s field P23 Non-Motorist Safety Equipment from (MMUCC is a nhtsa-funded group that sets standards for data collection on traffic crash reports). This is consistent with FARS definition; except that mmucc says only two may be selected for any person, and FARS allows any number to be selected (theoretically, the vast majority have either one or two selected).


AAA: Cost of car ownership increases to $9,100 this year

The AAA puts out a report on the costs of operating a car each year, and are always fun… figure a ballpark of 60 cents a mile. It’s been my experience that car owners are in consistent denial, other than chronic moaning about the price of fuel, about the high costs of automobility. (and fuel ends up being only about 1/4th of the overall cost). And these costs only represent direct costs; socialized costs (pollution, policing, mayhem, free and subsidized parking, various non-fuel taxes, etc) are not even attempted to be measured here.

“A new AAA reports shows, on average, the cost of driving 15,000 miles a year rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year. Overall, that’s a roughly 2% increase on the cost of operating a car last year.”  usatoday

Photo enforcement is all about making money?

“Police Chief Michael Frazier said the program brought in about $150,900 for the city since it began in May 2010. However, it cost the city $340,700 to run the program over that same period — a $189,800 deficit” Surprise won’t renew contract with photo-enforcement company

When photo-enforcement makes money; detractors say that that proves that “it’s only about the money”. When it costs money and the program gets canceled we are told by the detractors that this just double proves that it’s only about money.