Vector Scientific - Forensic Research and Forensic Consulting

Field Data Analysis

VSI has found that a number of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) national databases can be useful in forensic analysis of automotive collisions. VSI conducts statistical studies using several of the NHTSA databases (NASS-CDS, NASS-GES, FARS, SCI, CIREN) to gain insight into vehicle crashworthiness, occupant injuries and safety countermeasure performance in real world automotive collisions. These databases provide a portal to valuable real world crash data and are frequently used by automotive safety researchers from the NHTSA, automotive manufacturers and academic institutions. These databases have been cited extensively in the scientific literature as credible and relevant sources of automotive crash and injury data.

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These data sources have been utilized by VSI engineers to answer commonly encountered forensic questions related to automotive collisions such as:

What if an unbelted occupant had a seat belt on, would it have prevented their injury?
What is the risk to an occupant with a certain amount of roof crush?
How effective are child restraints in a crash of a specific severity?
Would a seat belt have reduced the injury risk of an older occupant?

Descriptions of specific databases are listed below. Please contact if you are interested in additional information on how these databases may be used to answer your specific questions.

National Automotive Sampling System Crash Data System (NASS-CDS)
NASS-CDS has detailed data on a nationally representative, random sample of thousands of minor, serious, and fatal crashes. Investigators inspect the vehicles and accident sites, interview occupants and review their medical records. They have investigated approximately 5,000 crashes per year since 1988 with detailed information on vehicle damage, injuries, restraint use and more.

National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS-GES)
Data for NASS-GES come from a nationally representative sample of police reported motor vehicle crashes of all types, from minor to fatal. The information is based upon police reports only and is used to estimate how many motor vehicle crashes of different kinds take place in the US, and what happens when they occur.

Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
FARS is a nationwide census providing NHTSA, Congress and the American public yearly data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Special Crash Investigations (SCI)
Since 1972, NCSA's Special Crash Investigations (SCI) Program has provided NHTSA with the most in depth and detailed level of crash investigation data collected by the agency. SCI cases are intended to be an anecdotal data set useful for examining special crash circumstances or outcomes from an engineering perspective.

Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN)
CIREN is a multi-center research program involving a collaboration of clinicians and engineers in academia, industry, and government. Together, they are pursuing in-depth studies of crashes, injuries, and treatments to improve processes and outcomes. CIREN's mission is to improve the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of motor vehicle crash injuries to reduce deaths, disabilities, and human and economic costs.

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