Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker, and UConn Provost Mun Choi, announced today that the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center at UConn in Storrs is dramatically improving the collection and analysis of car crash data, and providing an important new resource for law enforcement, health and safety personnel, policymakers, and the public.
"The Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center will certainly distinguish Connecticut as a national leader in transportation safety research and analysis--but more importantly, it will help us make our highways safer and will save taxpayer dollars in the process," said Governor Malloy. "The system modernizes crash reporting--law enforcement can file reports faster, first responders can clear crash scenes more quickly, and traffic flow will be restored sooner."
DOT receives more than 5,000 paper crash reports each month, resulting in an extensive backlog in crash data and limiting access to timely, accurate and complete crash information. Under the new system, the Center creates an electronic repository of statewide crash information such as the number of crashes in a town by location, date, street, injury type, and collision type. The data is analyzed to identify hazardous areas, crash patterns, and trends. The new electronic system will save taxpayer dollars through reduced use of resources and labor, and will result in a more efficient highway safety program.
"Safety is, and always will be, our top priority," said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford. "The modernization of this data will allow us to greatly improve the safety of our roadways."
Municipalities, regional planning agencies, state agencies, and the public can use the information on distracted and impaired driving, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and seat belt compliance to find solutions to traffic safety problems. The new database will also link to other criminal justice data bases and to public health data bases to support prosecution of traffic violations and measure the medical outcomes and costs of injuries.
"The Safety Research Center will assist us in creating an "E-Crash' data collection system designed to dramatically improve the way information for the state's car crash data is collected and processed," said Commissioner Redeker. "The "E-Crash' system will allow for 100 percent electronic filing of state crash reports and easier analysis of the data."
Connecticut is one of only a handful of states to partner with a major university on safety data collection and analysis. Opening last fall in partnership with the Connecticut Transportation Institute at UConn, the Center is already providing important safety data to regional organizations. The Capitol Region Council of Governments uses the repository to conduct regional transportation analyses; a community coalition at Yale New Haven Hospital is mapping impaired driving crashes in south central Connecticut; and pilot programs are underway to provide low cost or free data to the Connecticut State Police.
"Highway safety and the public health of our citizens is important to all us and the University of Connecticut is proud to partner with the DOT in creating this new Research Center dedicated to making Connecticut's roads and highways safe for everyone," said UConn Provost Mun Choi. "The Transportation Safety Research Center will provide an important service to the people of Connecticut and UConn is proud to part of that effort."
The DOT has committed $600,000 in federal funds to support the Center's first year.