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Most states generate a crash facts book on an annual basis. Every attempt is made within these books to capture what most people would want to know about traffic safety. For example, what are the major causes from a crash frequency and severity point of view? And, given a particular type of crash, how are the causal drivers’ ages distributed? Many interested persons within the traffic safety community have, over the years, used the Crash Facts Book for comparative purposes, and to determine the extent of a particular traffic safety problem and how it has changed over time.

The Alabama Crash Facts Book (ACFB) is an annual publication produced by CAPS that provides a wide breadth of traffic safety statistics for a variety of constituencies. While most of the users of the ACFB are traffic safety personnel, this publication is also intended to serve as a public information conduit.

2011 Alabama Traffic Crash Facts

Since the early 1980s, a standard batch program was run by the Alabama Department of Transportation on the Department of Public Safety mainframe data to generate most (about 98%) of the statistics used in the ACFB. As long as the crash report form did not change significantly this was quite adequate, mainly because there was a need to maintain consistency in the statistics produced, since some of the ACFB users made comparisons from year to year. CAPS took over the production of the ACFB in the early 1990s and has been responsible for its production ever since.

While the process described above has served well for over two decades, there will be major changes in the ACFB for the 2009 calendar year. The ACFB will be totally redesigned for the 2010 edition based on input from a wide representation from the traffic safety community, and a comparison with crash facts books from other states. This change is necessary because of the complete change in the crash report that began in June 2009 and will be completed as of December 31, 2009. At that time the state will be fully converted over to the eCrash-based report form, which (unlike its predecessor) is totally compliant with federal standards. This compliance has required changes in at least 90% of the data elements, making the new report data elements incompatible with most of those on the old form that was originated back in 1982.

The ACFB for 2009 is problematic, since half the data conforms with eCrash and the other half with the old report form. In an attempt to resolve this, the mainframe program will be run over the old data, and CAPS will use CARE on the new eCrash data to generate as close to the same data elements as possible. These will provide a composite view for 2009, but in many cases it will require two separate tables or charts to reflect the difference in the data elements.

Beginning for the 2010 calendar year, there will be an entirely new ACFB redesigned to better meet the needs of the traffic safety community within Alabama.

It is important to recognize that, regardless of source, the information presented in the ACFB must be quite selective. It would take entire rooms to hold the books if an attempt were made for it to be comprehensive. Even then, chances are the document would not contain the specific data elements and subsets for any given study. CARE was developed to provide the means to easily define filters and query any subset of the data so that such a huge document would not be necessary. In other words, CARE can be viewed as an easy way to access not only the rooms full of documents, but for that matter, any possible inquiry that can be made into the crash data. Thus, the ACFB should be viewed as a starter to get an idea of some of the things that CARE can produce. CARE is available to all who wish to use it, and it can be downloaded from this site. Click here for download information.

Click here for the most recent version of the ACFB.