Tag Archives: FARS

Search Traffic Crash Data

Search FARS

FARS is the federal database of all police-reported fatal traffic incidents in the United States. It is intended to be complete accounting; it has come to my attention there are some known missing incidents.

This tool allows anyone to easily search the FARS database by exact date for the years from the most recent available (currently 2017) back to 2010. It also allows to filter by whether or not a pedestrian,  bicyclist, motorcyclist, or anybody was involved. Continue reading Search Traffic Crash Data

Woman, 19, pushing disabled car struck, killed in Phoenix

Note to self to follow up to see how this gets coded in asdm and fars. Conceptually, a pedestrian was killed in a rear-end collision, a collision a driver should have been easily able to avoid if the struck vehicle had lights/flashers (it was at night). Was the disabled vehicle displaying emergency lights, or otherwise lit?

Phoenix file number?

Who is most at fault? For comparison, who is most at fault in the rear-end collision pictured here, the pickup driver or the school bus driver — the Pickup driver rammed a stopped school bus?

Continue reading Woman, 19, pushing disabled car struck, killed in Phoenix

Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists

[Update: the 2013 bicyclist fact sheet was released May(?) of 2015]

Each year, the USDOT, NHTSA (United States Dept of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) issues a report called Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists xxxx. The report comes out about 18 months after the close of the calendar year under review. Continue reading Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists

Use of alcohol as a risk factor for bicycling injury

Skip below if you’ve visited this page specifically to see the Johns Hopkins’ study.

FARS Alcohol Results

The FARS data has a number of alcohol (and drug) fields — the fields ATST_TYP, ALC_RES relate actual test type, and results. To simplify things, I’ve added a derived field sALC_RES to breaks down test results into: negative, .01 through .07, and .08+, or no results. Most fatally injured drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians do get tested. (for those that are not, there are imputed results available from a separate data file, see below).

Note that the ALC_RES field, the numerical result, has changed over the years, before 2015, it was listed as the number of hundredths of a percent BAC, e.g. 0.12 was coded as 12. In 2015 and later, it is coded as thousandths of a percent BAC, so the same result would be listed at 120.  The logic for this is encapsulated in the file 20xx_person.sql in the synthetic value sALC_RES: intox / not intox.

FARS and Drug Testing

The coding for drug results in FARS is similar to the alcohol scheme, except there are no quantitative results, only positive/negative. Also there is no equivalent to the imputation of results for drugs.

FARS coding: positive results for drugs shows up in the field DSTATUS=2 (i.e. “test given”) and DRUGRES1, 2, or 3 have a number up to 999; all in the person table. 0 meand test not given; 1 means No Drugs Reported/Negative. Potentially illicits are in groups generally in hundreds, e.g. 100-295 are narcotics, 300’s are depressants, 600’s cannaboids.  Anything 996 or above are various meanings for unknown.

Examples: Zolpidem (Ambien) is 375. See pages 579-594 of the FARS Coding and Validation Manual.

FARS and Imputation of Alcohol Results

Driving while intoxicated has been recognized as a significant serious safety factor for decades; at the same time, it’s long been recognized that many involved in fatal traffic collisions (mostly drivers but sometimes peds and bicyclists) do not have recorded alcohol test results. This nhtsa report published in 2002 explains most of the deep background and terminology on the scheme to “fill in” missing results: Continue reading Use of alcohol as a risk factor for bicycling injury

FARS and PBcat

Commencing with the recently-released 2010 data FARS (The USDOT’s Fatality Analysis and Reporting System) will have far more specialized detail on Pedestrian and Bicyclists crashes.

“Motorist Failure to Yield — signed intersection” One of several dozen crash types defined by PBCAT

618 cyclists (person type 6 bicyclist, and 7 other pedalcyclist) were killed in 2010 in traffic collisions — and as noted at the link above, only collisions with motor vehicles in-transport are tracked by FARS. So for example, a bicyclist who lost control and died as a result of crashing into a tree would not be tracked here, nor would a bicyclist who strikes a parked motor vehicle. Continue reading FARS and PBcat

Final 2010 U.S. Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities released

Final 2010 figures

…released 12/8/2011;  fastlane.dot.gov, at 32,885 the number is slightly higher than the early estimates which come out in the spring.

The 2010 dataset is not yet available in FARS, which is a little strange given that last year’s data was released in September (i.e. 2009 dataset available September 2010). update: the 2010 FARS data came up sometime in early December.

Final Arizona 2010 figures were released in August.

NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, DOT HS 811 552

Bicyclist Fatalities

As bikinginla.wordpress.com  points out, 618 cyclist deaths in 2010 makes it the lowest overall figure in some 35 years. The Arizona figure, 19, puts it close to our 10-year average; coming off of a bad 2009 (25).

Ped Problems?

USA Today article: “The USA is getting riskier for people on foot, and experts aren’t sure why.” Mike Sanders noted the ped issue, see comment here on the final Arizona 2010 figures.   Speed matters and need to redefine mobility – “Everyone should be familiar with the chart that shows that a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour (mph) has an 85 percent survivability rate. That same collision with a car going twice as fast, 40 mph, will lower the survivability likelihood to 15 percent” (Laplante and McCann, Complete Streets: We Can Get There from Here, ITE journal, May 2008).

An rather than viewing it as a zero-sum game where motorists must lose mobility in order to make streets safer for peds; Beyond Safety in Numbers suggests that the safer streets for peds are quite likely safer streets for motorists as well.

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2010

The early estimates come out in the spring (late march i think), here was the buzz at that time…

The media is abuzz with projections released a couple of days ago by NHTSA that 2010 traffic fatalities are at there lowest number since the Truman administration, and the closely-watch per VMT figure is the lowest ever recorded. Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2010:

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities in 2010 shows that an estimated 32,788 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decline of about 3 percent as compared to the 33,808 fatalities that occurred in 2009…  The fatality rate for 2010 are projected to decline to the lowest on record, to 1.09 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.13 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2009

Here are the Early Estimates for 2009, and 2008. Continue reading Final 2010 U.S. Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities released


Cindie Holub’s death on March 1,  (Cindy’s death was written up on bicyclelaw.com, also see 2010 fatalities), from injuries sustained in a Feb 24 collision with a garbage truck caused me to look up the rule for categorization purposes. “To be included in this census of crashes, a crash had to involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public, and must result in the death of a person (occupant of a vehicle or a nonmotorist) within 30 days of the crash.” from DOT HS 811 137.

The US DOT runs a very elaborate, publicly available, query-able database for every traffic fatality in the US called FARS — Fatality Analysis and Reporting System. Continue reading FARS