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Police accident report forms: safety device coding and enacted laws


Safety device coding on state police accident report (PAR) forms was compared with provisions in state traffic safety laws. PAR forms were obtained from all 50 states and the District of Columbia (states/DC). For seat belts, 22 states/DC had a primary seat belt enforcement law vs 50 with a PAR code. For car seats, all 51 states/DC had a law and a PAR code. For booster seats, 39 states/DC had a law vs nine with a PAR code. For motorcycle helmets, 21 states/DC had an all-age rider helmet law and another 26 a partial-age law vs 50 with a PAR code. For bicycle helmets, 21 states/DC had a partial-age rider helmet law vs 48 with a PAR code. Therefore gaps in the ability of states to fully record accident data reflective of existing state traffic safety laws are revealed. Revising the PAR forms in all states to include complete variables for safety devices should be an important priority, independent of the laws.

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