The objective of this study was to determine how much information is available to insurers and the public concerning driver performance. The study is based on a sample of auto accidents drawn from the claim files of 61 participating insurers. Information was gathered in the 40 jurisdictions whose motor vehicle records were believed to contain some publicly available data on accidents and convictions of individual drivers. Major findings were as follows: (1) State limitations on reporting and recording of traffic accidents and violations make state motor vehicle records a very incomplete source of information on the driving performance of individual motorists. (2) Accident reporting is getting worse as states weaken their reporting requirements and place additional limitations on public access to motor vehicle records. (3) Traffic citations and convictions also are severely under-reported on official state driver records. (4) The low number of convictions seen on state driver reports is due in part to the fact that courts and motor vehicle departments offer drivers numerous ways to avoid having information about traffic violations posted on official records--or, if posted, from appearing on the reports made available to insurers and other users. In some states this holds true even for serious offenses such as drunk driving. (5) Reporting of accidents and violations varies greatly from state to state and for different areas within states. (6) Rising accident reporting thresholds keep large numbers of accidents off the state records. Some states have adopted accident reporting thresholds as high as $1,000, while others require reporting only when injuries are involved or when the vehicle has to be towed following the crash. (7) There are wide variations by state in police arrivals at the scene to investigate accidents. (8) There was a significant decline between 1983 and 1990 in police arrivals at accidents that produced an injury claim, particularly at accidents involving less than $1,000 in vehicle damage.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Insurance Research Council

    718 Providence Road, PO Box 3025
    Malvern, PA  United States  19355-0725
  • Publication Date: 1991

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 127 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00611976
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1991 12:00AM