Safety

Crash Data


Crash Data


CDOT maintains a crash database for the purpose of improving traffic and highway safety as required by 23 U.S.C. Section 148 and 23 U.S.C. Section 405 requirements of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) as well as other Federal and State rules and guidance. CDOT provides summary data upon request. The summary data provided:

  • will be in a tabular format;
  • will be for a specific location or geographical area filtered for a specific crash type, weather condition, and/or date range; and
  • will not include personal identifying information, such as, names, driver's license numbers, addresses, birth dates, license plate numbers, vehicle identification numbers (VIN), local and state identifiers (i.e. case numbers).

CDOT only provides summary data and does not provide or publish the database in its entirety.

To improve timeliness and help ensure that the data provided meets the requestor’s needs, it is recommended that the following information be included by the requestor:

Location: The location that data is being requested for. Provide mile posts if possible for highways or at a minimum, cross street information for the beginning and end points on a corridor. LAT/Long and GIS data is not available for most non highway crashes so if local roads are included in the request, CDOT will attempt to provide the data as close to what is requested as possible.

Dates: Beginning and end dates for the request (i.e. January 1, 2015 – June 30, 2015) or the most recent five years of data.  For engineering analysis, we generally recommend 3 years of data for high volume roadways in urban areas and 5 years of data for more rural, low volume roadways. This typically provides sufficient information for safety analyses and is a general rule of thumb for engineering analysis. 

Please note: CDOT may provide data for crashes that date back further. However, the data formats have since changed and not all the fields were collected historically. Therefore, the data may require research and/or manipulation to be obtained. If you have requests going back more than 10 years, please contact us to discuss your specific data needs.

To request data, please follow the request process outline here.


Process


When a crash occurs, after an officer investigates and fills out a crash form, the form is sent to the Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR processes the records and enters them into a database called DRIVES where the official, legal record is maintained. CDOT receives data from the DRIVES system for all crashes, excluding private property and counter reports. (Counter reports are self-reported by drivers and are not investigated by a law enforcement officer.)

CDOT processes or “cleanses” the crash data received from DOR. This process adds an additional field for crash type, corrects common errors, updates location information where available, and normalizes the data. This cleansing process creates a working database that CDOT then analyzes for various programs and safety projects. Some examples of how this data is used is to identify crash patterns, over representation of crashes for a specific roadway type or volume, statewide planning, development of crash mitigation projects, identification of behavioral patterns for the development of behavioral programs such as “click it or ticket” and Holiday DUI campaigns.

CDOT typically compiles data and releases the data in 6 month increments, with approximately a 3 month delay when data is available. CDOT may delay the release of data to address known deficiencies allowing for data corrections or to download additional data that is delayed through the DOR process.

FARS is a separate database containing only fatal records and contains more detailed fields than the more general state database that includes all crashes. FARS is a nationwide census providing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Congress, and the American public yearly data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Fatal data is finalized and published on December 31 of the following year. For example, 2015 fatal data was published on December 31, 2016. This allows for a thorough examination of records to ensure the most accurate data possible. The information in the FARS database is collected through a variety of sources, including coroner toxicology results, death certificates, initial fatal blotter notifications, and fatal supplement information. Fatal crashes included in the database meet the NHTSA definition of a fatal crash, which may not include all crashes involving a death. Examples of crashes that are not in the FARS database include deaths not resulting from the injuries sustained in the crash such as suicides or medical conditions.