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8/22/2008 - Updated Crash Data Collection Guideline Released

MMUCC is a voluntary guideline that helps states collect consistent, reliable crash data. This data is used for identifying traffic safety problems, establishing goals and performance measures, monitoring the progress of programs, and allocating resources for enforcement, engineering and education. Some of America’s leading traffic safety experts worked together to develop and update the Guideline, including representatives from groups in safety, engineering, emergency medical services, law enforcement, the research community and federal agencies. First published in 1998, the Guideline has been updated every five years since, and MMUCC compliance among states has steadily increased during that time.

“MMUCC has allowed states all across America to significantly improve the quality of the crash data they collect, which is an invaluable asset for effective implementation of highway safety programs,” said Barbara Harsha, the executive director of GHSA and a member of the expert panel that oversaw development of the 3rd Edition, MMUCC (2008). “Updating MMUCC every five years has allowed us to address emerging issues such as distracted driving and all terrain vehicle crashes, and the collaborative approach to updating the Guideline has played a key role in keeping it current.”

To help encourage states to become MMUCC compliant, Traffic Safety Information System Improvement Grants are available under Section 408 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the current federal transportation legislation. In order to receive one of the grants, a state must certify that it has adopted and uses model data elements identified by the Secretary of Transportation or that it will use Section 408 grant funds toward adopting and using the maximum number of such model data elements as soon as practicable. The MMUCC elements were identified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one set of model data elements that apply to Section 408.

“The federal data improvement grants under Section 408 of SAFETEA-LU provide states with further incentive to consider MMUCC when they update their crash data forms,” Harsha continued. “The newly redesigned MMUCC website has information on how to apply for Section 408 funding.”

The MMUCC website – www.mmucc.us – offers a one-stop source for information on the Guideline. The site was recently redesigned and includes a wealth of background material, including web-based training on each of the data elements, and a discussion forum that allows visitors to ask questions about MMUCC implementation and engage in dialogue with fellow traffic safety professionals.  GHSA Chairman Lays Out Highway Safety Priorities Before Congress Calls for Making Highway Safety a National Priority Washington, D.C. — GHSA Chairman Chris Murphy testified today before the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. Murphy shared GHSA’s recommended changes to the federal behavioral highway safety programs to be considered in the upcoming highway reauthorization.

During the hearing, Improving Highway Safety: Assessing the Effectiveness of the NHTSA's Highway Traffic Safety Programs, Chairman Murphy shared the dais with:  Katherine Siggerud, Managing Director, Physical Infrastructure, GAO; Jim Ports, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chairman Murphy advocated streamlining highway safety program administration, making refinements in the current incentive programs and authorizing a new speed management incentive program. Murphy also encouraged Congress to maintain strong federal leadership in the issue of highway safety.

Specific recommendations include the following:

A comprehensive, national strategic highway safety plan involving all levels of the government and the private sector. Federal highway safety programs have been developed in a piecemeal fashion, without an overall plan. GHSA echoes the recent recommendations of the National Surface Transportation and Revenue Policy Study Commission in proposing a national highway safety strategic plan and national highway safety goals.

The goal of zero fatalities. The loss of one life is one too many. Over time, and with education, enforcement, safety infrastructure improvements, vehicle improvements, and technological advances, such an ambitious goal can be achieved.

A single grant application and a uniform application deadline. Currently, there are different application forms and application deadlines for each incentive program, and the funding is allocated at different times. Such a fragmented approach makes it difficult for states to plan their annual programs effectively.

Greater flexibility among programs. States should be allowed to move a portion of incentive grant funding from one category to another based upon their demonstrated needs, in parity with the flexibility already granted to the core federal highway construction programs.

Increased funding of $100 million a year for the Section 408 data improvements program. GAO, the U.S. DOT Inspector General and the National Surface Transportation and Revenue Policy Study Commission have all recommended federal behavioral highway safety programs become more performance-based. If Congress concurs, it must provide the resources to states to collect the data necessary to track performance.

A new speed management incentive grant. Speeding is a factor in an estimated one-third of all crashes, and costs society an estimated $40 billion annually. Reducing speed not only saves lives, but it also saves energy. A new speed management program should provide incentives for states that undertake speed enforcement, conduct speed management workshops, implement automated speed enforcement programs, or conduct public information campaigns about speeding.

A drunk driving program based on known effective countermeasures. Some criteria for the Section 410 drunk driving incentive grant program have been ineffective or proven too difficult to implement, and many states may soon fall out of compliance. GHSA suggests the program be refocused on known effective countermeasures such as high visibility enforcement, DUI courts and judicial education.

A single occupant protection program. GHSA recommends the only modestly successful Section 406 primary seat belt incentive grant program be combined with the existing occupant protection and child passenger protection programs to form a single program. Funds should be allocated based on a number of criteria such as seat belt use rates, fatality rates of unbelted drivers, and primary seat belt and booster seat law enactment.

Maintaining the National Minimum Drinking Age (NMDA). While GHSA does not generally support new sanctions, it vigorously opposes any effort to overturn this existing sanction, which stipulates that any state not enforcing the minimum drinking age of 21 be subjected to a ten percent decrease in its annual federal highway apportionment. Protecting the health of young people should be of paramount importance. According to NHTSA, nearly 25,000 teen traffic deaths have been prevented since the enactment of the NMDA.

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