The SHSP is a Data-driven Plan
Data is the life blood of any traffic safety effort because it helps determine where to focus effort and resources and enables an evaluation to determine effectiveness. In selecting the five critical emphasis areas, safety stakeholders carefully reviewed data to determine the most serious transportation safety problems.
The majority of data used in developing and monitoring the SHSP is crash data involving fatalities and serious incapacitating injuries. This data is collected by police officers at the scene of a traffic related crash.
Information related to crashes, vehicles, drivers and passengers is captured and maintained in a state database. This database contains a wealth of information, including date, time, location, severity, manner of collision, contributing factors, weather, traffic controls and design features of the road.
Vehicle information may include year, make, model and registration of the vehicles involved. Driver and passenger information typically includes age, gender, license status and injury data. Injury Surveillance Systems (ISS) typically provide data on EMS (pre-hospital), emergency department (ED), hospital admission/discharge, trauma registry and long-term rehabilitation. Roadway information includes roadway location and classification (e.g. interstates, arterials, collectors, etc.), as well as a description of the physical characteristics and uses of the roadway. Location reference systems vary around the country, but are becoming increasingly dependent upon GPS for accurate location information.
Ideally a state should be able to track a citation from the time it is issued by a law enforcement officer through prosecution and disposition in a court of law. Citation information should be tracked and linked to driver history files to ensure unsafe drivers are not licensed. States have found that citation tracking systems are useful in detecting recidivism for serious traffic offenses earlier in the process (i.e., prior to conviction) and for tracking the behavior of law enforcement agencies and the courts with respect to dismissals and plea bargains.
Additional information on Crash Data is available from NDOT.