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Accident Data Analysis for the Real-World




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David J. Biss has conducted original research and published peer-reviewed research in the field of Automotive Accident Data Analysis using the National Crash Databases of the National Automotive Sampling System [NASS] of the NHTSA, and others.  Accident Data Analysis is separate from advanced statistical techniques, but is a required prerequisite task when parsing the National accident data.  Accident Data Analysis may or may not involve advanced statistical techniques; however, if Accident Data Analysis is not done properly, advanced statistical techniques will amount to no more than garbage-in-garbage-out.  Mr. Biss’ accident data analyses have proven to be reliable data analyses independent of, and/or complementarily to, advanced statistical methods, and stands on their own as valuable additions to interpretation of the National Accident DataBases.


As examples, here are three scientific citations of National DataBase Accident Data Analysis:



A Study of the NASS-CDS System for Injury/Fatality Rates of Occupants in Various Restraints and a Discussion of Alternative Presentation Methods,”  Biss, D. J. and Stucki, S. L.,  44th Annual Proceedings, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, October 2-4, 2000, Chicago, Illinois. (click for pdf)



The Appropriate Use of ‘Delta-V’ in Describing Accident Severity,”  Biss, D.J., Husted, Daniel C. and Heverly, D.E.,  SAE Paper No. 1999-01-1295, SAE International Congress and Exposition, Detroit, MI, March 1999. (click for pdf)



Selecting a Vehicle Speed Change Calculation Procedure for Accident Severity Assessment,”  Biss, David J., Heverly, David E. and Husted, Daniel C., Accident Investigation Quarterly, Summer 1998. (click for pdf)


The NHTSA has assigned the parameter of Delta-V (the change-in-velocity during a [barrier equivalent] crash) as essentially the standard for assessing accident severities [risks of injury] for crashes on the highways. The above data analysis calculating “risk” of injury from a frontal impact in a given “Delta-V” crash is the only correct formulation of accident data to accurately assess the probability, or risk, of an injury when comparing accident severities on an equivalent, non-biased, basis using Delta-V.

The proper reading of the above graph is that for every 100 persons exposed to a particular level of Delta-V, say 31-35 mph, then 28 people [or 28%] are injured at an MAIS>=3 level; and, between 9 and 10 people [9.5%] are injured at an MAIS>=4 level. The above risk distributions of NASS-CDS data are currently being updated, but have not changed significantly since this publication.

In order to make most all crashes look unsurvivably severe, some vested presenters have confused and conflated risk of injury by using a cumulative formulation that is not a risk at all. If such “statistics” are used by the opposition in your cases do not permit them to go unchallenged because they can falsely impress a lay audience. I would be glad to explain, and/or get you in touch with other experts who can also rebut, these incorrect and misleading assertions surrounding cumulative formulations.





The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] of the U.S. Department of Transportation collects and maintains example forms for all of the state Police Accident Reports [PAR] along with the templates for decoding of those.


The Example PAR forms and decoding templates can be found at:








The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] of the U.S. Department of Transportation is the Federal Agency in charge of regulating automobile safety in the United States.   In addition, the Agency conducts extensive accident data analyses and maintains comprehensive data bases through its division National Center for Statistics and Analysis, a link to which is:




and there are numerous sub-links therein to specific program descriptions and data sets.  Notably:


Ř  NASS – National Automotive Sampling System

Ř  FARS – Fatality Analysis Reporting System

Ř  SCI   –   Special Crash Investigations

Ř  State Data Program and Codes

Ř  Traffic Records

Ř  Vehicle Safety

Ř  Research

Ř  [among others]