A special analysis was conducted as a part of a major accident causation study to assess the validity of police-reported traffic accident data. Information theory and signal detection theory techniques were used to assess police data reliability by comparing it with MDAI and Level II (technical level) data collected during the Tri-Level Study of Accident Causation. Results indicate the accident level variables reported by the police with least reliability were vertical road character, accident severity, and road surface composition. The most reliably reported data were those concerned with the accident location, date, and number of drivers, passengers, and vehicles. The informativeness of the police reports with respect to driver/vehicle characteristics was practically nil, with the exception of driver age, sex, and vehicle model for which the police were correct most of the time (but not errorless). It was also found that police reports provided very little information regarding the presence of different human conditions and states, vehicle defects and environmental/road deficiencies.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Indiana University, Bloomington

    Institute for Research in Public Safety
    Bloomington, IN  United States  47401

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Shinar, D
    • Treat, J R
  • Publication Date: 1977-6-30

Media Info

  • Pagination: 110 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00305792
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-HS-805-087 Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-034-3-535
  • Files: NTIS, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 20 1980 12:00AM