Data Collection & Research
Kids and Car Safety (KACS) has changed the entire transportation data collection philosophy, process, and structure in this country.
Every year, over 35,000-40,000 people die on our roads and highways, but rarely do people understand the number of exclusions that have been applied before that statistic is announced. To be included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS), there must be a crash that takes place on a public road or highway with the person(s) involved dying within 30 days of when the incident took place. The overall FARS numbers do not include any incidents that do not involve the conditions noted above, thus the topic of ‘nontraffic’ incidents have been ignored for decades.
Kids and Car Safety (KACS) has been the only national organization dedicated to the collection of nontraffic data for over 25 years. Nontraffic meaning any event involving a motor vehicle that happens off of public roads or highways, usually in parking lots or driveways. Nontraffic incidents include, but are not limited to; backovers, frontovers, heatstroke, cars stolen with children who were left alone inside, power window strangulation or amputation, vehicles inadvertently knocked into gear, trunk entrapment, seat belt strangulation, vehicle submersion and underage drivers.
KACS data is derived from a compilation of sources including media reports, individual accounts from victims and their families, medical examiner reports, police reports, child death review teams, coroner reports, medical professionals, lawyers, and published studies. Numerous sources are required due to the lack of a national data reporting system for nontraffic events. Between 50-75 data points are sought to capture circumstances for each case. This robust database has provided statistics and information to affect numerous changes in the design of vehicles to make them safer.
In 2005 and 2008 KAC was successful in including provisions passed by Congress requiring NHTSA to begin the collection of nontraffic data.** NHTSA created the “Nontraffic Surveillance” (NTS) database to satisfy these requirements and began collecting nontraffic data based on this mandate.*** The Non-Traffic Surveillance system (NTS), exclusively captures nontraffic incidents and is a virtual data collection system designed to provide counts and details of fatalities and injuries that occur in nontraffic crashes and non-crash incidents. NHTSA reports that an average of 1,740 nontraffic deaths and 840,000 visits to the emergency rooms are taking place every year. One significant limitation of the NTS data is that there are only 5 states that report state nontraffic data to the federal level.
Kids and Car Safety is recognized as the #1 authority about emerging and existing nontraffic incidents that injure or kill children.
The Kids and Car Safety team has co-authored several studies using the data collected in their unique national database on nontraffic incidents including;
- Unintentional non-traffic injury and fatal events: Threats to children in and around vehicles published in Traffic Injury Prevention in 2017
- Pediatric Heatstroke Fatalities Caused by Being Left in Motor Vehicles, published in Pediatric Emergency Care in 2020.
- Trauma Center-Based Surveillance of Nontraffic Pedestrian Injury among California Children, Western Journal of Emergency Medicine Articles in Press, Department of Emergency Medicine, UC Irvine" Jan-12, 2012, Thomas M. Rice, MPH, PhD, Roger B. Trent, PhD, Janette Fennell, [...], and John Sherck, MD
- Injuries and Deaths Among Children Left Unattended in or Around Motor Vehicles-United States, July 2000-June 2001, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Volume 51, No. 26, July 5, 2002, [Significant Contributor-provided all fatal incidents]
- Unattended Kids + Cars Expert Panel Recommendations, March 2001
- The Power of Survivor Advocacy: Making Car Trunks Escapable, Injury Prevention Journal, September 2000.
- Channeling Grief into Policy Change, Survivor Advocacy for Injury Prevention, Injury Prevention Newsletter, Volume 13, CDC, October 2000
Kids and Car Safety’s data is the basis for all of their many successes in making vehicles safer for children and reducing the number of children injured or killed in preventable incidents.