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Crash Report Development Guidance

Accuracy of Instruction:
Complications can arise when transferring definitions or guidelines from source documents to the PAR, instruction manual or programming logic.  The omission or addition of a single word can cause an unintended change in meaning.  The selection criteria define specifically which vehicles should be reported to SAFETYNET.  Therefore, accuracy on the specifics of the selection instruction becomes critical both when an officer has to decide if the truck and bus information is required to be completed and/or when a data extraction program is written. (See Examples Below)

Example 1
The definition of a commercial motor vehicle from 390.5 of the FMCSRs includes this statement: “Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property.” Although not the intention of the definition, if this statement is used in instruction and not clarified it can incorrectly be interpreted that to qualify the vehicle has to be in the act of transporting persons or property at the time of the crash. This could prevent the supplement from being completed for unloaded trucks or empty buses.
Example 2

The importance of accuracy in terminology extends to the data elements and attributes listed on the form.  SAFETYNET records whether or not a vehicle was placarded for hazardous materials.  If on the PAR it is listed as “transporting hazardous materials” the intention of the element is lost.  Similarly to the previous example, “transporting hazardous materials” implies that the vehicle must be loaded at the time.  Depending on the hazmat being transported, a vehicle may be required to be placarded even after delivery of its cargo until it is cleaned and inspected.