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Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

Description

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) is a census of motor vehicle traffic crashes that result in a fatality to a vehicle occupant or nonmotorist within 30 days of the crash. FARS contains data on all fatal crashes within the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Data are collected on several aspects of the crash, including the event, the vehicle(s) and driver(s), and each person involved. These data can be used to answer many questions on the safety of vehicles, drivers, traffic situations, and roadways, at the state and national levels.

Supplier

Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT/NHTSA)

Data Years Available

1975-present

Periodicity

Annual

Mode

Data are abstracted from official state records and sent to DOT.

Selected Content

Data collected include the time and location of the crash, numbers of people and vehicles involved, vehicle type(s), impact points, driver's license status of all drivers, demographics of all persons involved, their role in crash (driver, passenger, etc), injury severity, and seatbelt restraint use. Driver and nonoccupant blood alcohol content measures are also collected.

Population covered

The U.S. population.

Methodology

To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle travelling on a traffic way customarily open to the public, and result in the death of a person (either an occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist) within 30 days of the crash. Data are abstracted from official state records and coded on standard FARS forms by state employees who have received FARS training. Data sources include: police accident reports, state vehicle registration files, state driver license files, state highway department data, vital statistics data, death certificates, Coroner/Medical Examiner reports, hospital medical records, and emergency medical service reports. FARS forms are transmitted to DOT for quality assurance and analysis. An online database (FARS Query System) is available for public use.

Response rate and sample size

N/A

Interpretation Issues

N/A

References

http://www.nhtsa.gov/FARS. Accessed August 16, 2010.