Partnership with UNMH Aims to Improve Traffic Safety Interventions

February 2, 2021

photo of Nick Ferenchak

While cities and states increasingly rely on empirical data analysis to prioritize traffic safety interventions in the US, that data is almost exclusively reported by police at the scene of the collision. Few of these responding officers have advanced medical training or the equipment to make an accurate diagnosis in the field. Dr. Ferenchak is collaborating with surgeons at UNMH to compare patients' police-reported injuries with their hospital-diagnosed injuries and answer two timely research questions: 1) how many collisions are we missing with police data, and 2) how many collision victims are misdiagnosed in police data? Results suggest that we're missing upwards of 50% of injuries with our traditional data sources. Even for those patients that are being recorded, about one-third are misdiagnosed in the police data. This could mean that scarce resources are being used on the wrong problems.