Online Program

Analysis of content coded in police templates for vehicle/bicycle crashes in the 50 states

Monday, November 4, 2013

Anne Lusk, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition, 655 Huntington Ave Building II Room 314, Boston, MA
Morteza Asgarzadeh, PhD, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Framingham, MA
Background: Vehicle/bicycle crashes of a certain level of severity are recorded by police in all 50 states using templates that have been individualized by the state police department. In some instances, standardized templates are used by state police departments. Much information is entered as code but other information requested on the template does not have corresponding codes. Only the coded data is provided in data sets that then are combined with other data sets for analysis (EMS, ICD-9 Codes, etc.).

Method: State templates were collected from all 50 states using the web and contact with the state police departments. These templates were analyzed to determine the information most relevant to a vehicle/bicycle crash and what, of this information, had a corresponding code for data entry and later analysis.

Results: All state police records included coded data for involvement of a pedal cyclist and indication of a helmet. The sides of the vehicle were included for impact but only 3 state templates included sides of the bicycle impacted. Thirteen states indicated a pedal-cycle specific location code and nineteen states indicated a pedal-cycle specific action. Fifteen states indicated reflective clothing/lighting but these codes may have been specific to motorcyclists. Sobriety was indicated for pedal-cyclists in three states. Bike-specific path of travel in the diagram or bike maneuver was specified in three state templates.

Conclusion: Due to the increase in numbers of bicyclists and increased crashes, all state police crash templates could include the coded categories for vehicle/bicycle crashes found in some states.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the 50 state police crash templates for reporting vehicle/bicycle crashes. Demonstrate what information is coded and entered into Excel for combination with other data sets. Assess whether this information is sufficient for a clear understanding of the vehicle/bicycle crash.

Keyword(s): Reporting, Data Collection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I helped collect the 50 state police templates, spoke with police departments, and conducted the analysis on the 50 state templates.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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