Reply To: 2.3 Injuries and Damage

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Posted: Jun/10/2016 at 4:50pm – author: Miles Brookes

I agree with the proposed changes to align with 23 CFR, Part 490 and MMUCC 4th Ed. However, in the quest by many of us to make data uniform and accurate across many systems and jurisdictions, the unit of measurement for a qualifying fatality; 30 days from the motor vehicle crash (MVC) leaves room for inconsistencies and misinterpretation, thus reducing uniformity and accuracy of the data. 

While the following examples may be few and far between, and my experience is that a large majority of MVC fatalities occur at the scene or within a few days of the crash, I feel it best to adopt a more accurate level of measurement when qualifying MVC fatalities. I’d propose a 720 hour unit of measure (which is 30 days but removes possible inconsistencies in how a data professionals count the passage of a day), or clearly define what constitutes the passing of a day for this classification.

Extreme Situation 1:

Crash occurs 00:01, 7/1 and death occurs 23:59, 7/31. In a 30 day rule, some may interpret this as qualifying fatality as it occurred on the 30th day from the crash. While this is within the 30 days of the crash, death occurred 743.97 hours after the crash, only 2 minutes short of the completion of the 31st day, almost an extra whole day compared to the next example.

Extreme Situation 2:

Crash occurs 23:59, 7/1 and death occurs 00:01, 7/31. In a 30 day rule this would also be included as a qualifying fatality. This death occurred at 696.03 hours, which in of itself is not a problem. 

The problem with uniformity arises when you compare victim 1 and victim 2 and the start of their “clock” for fatal qualification. Victim 1 had 743.97 hours before becoming a countable fatality based on possible various 30 day interpretations, while Victim 2 had exactly 720 hours, or 30 days based solely on the fact that their crash occurred so late in the calendar day. 

Additionally, FARS/CRSS uses a consistency check of “DEATH DATE and DEATH TIME for this person must be within 720 hours of the CRASH DATE and CRASH TIME” Which I feel provides a greater level of uniformity across all data systems. The desired result of 30 days for fatality inclusion is still there, but provides for a more narrowly defined way to measure the passage of time between crash and death. 

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