The state of South Dakota maintains an electronic database containing all reported vehicle accidents. This database, called the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident file, does not contain information regarding trucks. If the accident involves a truck meeting certain criteria, a supplemental form is filled out with additional data, which is stored in a national database called SAFETYNET. Personnel can not easily combine the information from the two sources to detect trends or groupings of accidents. The ability to do this is necessary to correct potentially dangerous conditions.
This study would use information from SAFETYNET and the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident file to identify the following accident factors:
problem areas-routes with a high number of commercial vehicle crashes
problem drivers-by age, driver qualification, experience
other accident characteristics-time of day, day of week, weather, highway class, and geometry, etc.
motor carriers that posea greater safety risk.
These are all factors that contribute to accidents. These data would be analyzed, and the results would be used to develop new programs or strategies for reducing accidents in the state. New programs could include education of high-risk passenger vehicle drivers; focused enforcement in high-risk corridors; and the targeting of enforcement resources on motor carriers that pose a greater safety risk to the general public based on historical safety data. A tool for reassessing causal factors, perhaps on an annual basis, also would be developed as part of the research, so that the programs are not static but respond to changing conditions.