At DOT, our safety efforts--including our work to end distracted driving--are based on good data and sound science. Collecting accurate and consistent information about crashes is essential to that mission.
When all of the states collect the same basic data about crashes, researchers get a much more useful state-by-state and nationwide picture of driver behavior and vehicle safety. And that helps us design more effective safety programs.
One important tool for improving the accuracy and consistency of data for all types of motor vehicle crashes is the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) Guideline, a voluntary set of standards that helps the states decide what information to collect at the scene of a crash. And on Monday, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released the 4th edition of the MMUCC, developed with funding from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The updated criteria will encourage states to collect more information about distracted driving and other safety threats.
As NHTSA Administrator Strickland said, “Increasing our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers traveling on our roadways is essential to improving traffic safety. The new guidelines will serve as a useful tool for gathering more accurate and consistent crash data on emerging safety issues, including distracted driving.”
The new standard distracted driving information is more descriptive and includes important facts such as whether the driver was manually operating an electronic communication device--like sending or receiving email or texts--talking on a hands-free device, or talking on a hand-held device.
Law enforcement officers will be encouraged to gather this wider range of information about drivers in crashes who were distracted. Then, DOT and our state and local safety partners can focus our anti-distraction efforts more effectively by directing our resources where they can make the biggest difference in our fight against this deadly epidemic.
I’m confident that this latest update to the MMUCC Guideline will help states further improve the information they collect when a crash occurs. And here at DOT, that will help us continue to make America's roadways safer for everyone.