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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:

UPDATE Sept 2016. There is a PROPOSED CHANGE similar to the change I submitted a year or two ago (they’ve added animal-drawn vehicles; I think it would be better described as …or other non-motorized vehicle). You can support or otherwise comment on the proposed changes here. The deadline for responses is 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, October 7, 2016!!

Here’s the change, extracted from Page 10 of this document, with the additions highlighted in yellow:

Issue C9: Modify definition The following is a proposal from a public stakeholder to modify the definition of “C9. Manner of Crash/Collision Impact.”
The identification of the manner in which two motor vehicles or a motor vehicle and a bicycle/animaldrawn vehicle in transportinitially came together without regard to the direction of force. This data element refers only to crashes where the first harmful event involves a collision between two motor vehicles or a motor vehicle and a bicycle/animal-drawn vehicle in transport.


Dear Highway Safety Expert:

The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) is a voluntary guideline developed jointly by NHTSA and GHSA to help states determine what crash data to collect at the scene and include in their state databases. The guideline is currently undergoing a complete review, with the goal of releasing the 5th edition in 2017. The review has been led by an Expert Panel of approximately 30 participants, including representatives of law enforcement, state traffic records coordinators, state and local departments of transportation, researchers, EMS and federal officials.

The panel has made a number of initial decisions, including the creation of separate sections for fatal crashes, large motor vehicles and non-motorists. It has recommended that states be given more flexibility in the way in which they collect data and has also proposed a few new data elements, including ones for automated vehicles and ignition interlocks.

Following the first meeting, the Expert Panel formed small working groups to review particular data elements and their attributes and recommend changes. In addition, respondents to an online forum (conducted in May) and to a Federal Register notice proposed additional changes to MMUCC. We have created a second online forum to solicit your opinions about these proposals.

The forum is now open at

You will need to create a login account to access the forum. This account enables you to save your work in progress and return to the survey at a later time. Please make note of your username and password, as you will need them to log in each time you return. Full instructions for completing the forum are provided on the first page after you log in. Please note that all comments submitted to the forum will be posted without change at, including any personal information provided. The deadline for responses is 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, October 7, 2016.

If you would like to review the full list of proposals and questions prior to completing the forum, you may download them here:

It should take between 30-60 minutes to complete the online forum. Your input is invaluable to ensure that the proposals will yield collectable and useful data that State Highway Safety Offices can use in their planning processes. I strongly encourage you, your traffic records coordinator or a member of the state Traffic Records Coordinating Committee to complete the forum.

Should you have any technical questions about the online forum, please contact Amadie Hart at

Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us as we seek to improve MMUCC and crash data collection, management and analysis.

UPDATE Sept 2017

For reasons that are not clear, issue C9 (a.k.a. proposal 4.2) was rejected, and will not be made to the MMUCC 5th Edition. The voting was 43 to approve vs. 17 to reject (20 were no opinion). There’s a breakdown by “Public Stakeholders”, 27 approve / 9 reject. Whereas “Expert Panel” was 16 approve / 8 reject.
I have no idea what the process within DOT is ??


Below is a proposed change to the MMUCC to clarify data collection when the first harmful event in a motor vehicle crash involves a bicycle…

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