Since the early 1980s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been obtaining, from various States, computer data files coded from police accident reports. NHTSA refers to the collection of these computerized State crash data files as the State Data System (SDS). SDS is maintained by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA). The thirty-two States currently participating in SDS are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The objective of the State Data System is to fully develop the analytic potential of all State data of relevance to highway safety. The States’ crash data files are unique, contain large amounts of information, and are used by NHTSA analysts for a broad range of motor vehicle crash research and reports and in the development of U.S. DOT regulation and policy.
NHTSA recognizes that good data are critical to improving traffic safety, and increasing and improving the data that the Agency collects is a top priority. Responding to this directive, NCSA is actively seeking new participants in SDS. As the number of participating States increases, the research value of SDS is expected to increase proportionately. NCSA’s ultimate goal is to include all States in the program, providing a complete census of national traffic statistics, now only estimated by NHTSA’s National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES).
SDS is a part of NCSA’s overall State Data Program. Other components of the State Data Program work to enhance the quality and utility of these crash data. These efforts include:
- Offering guidance on standardized reporting procedures, e.g., the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC);
- Providing technical support to NHTSA programs using State crash data; and,
- Encouraging States to link their crash and injury outcome data in programs such as the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES).