The Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) is a component of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)ís State Data Program. Through NHTSA-sponsored grants, CODES provides software and technical assistance to grantees in States to link information about all crashes and their consequences statewide. Evolving from a congressional mandate to report on the benefits of safety belts and motorcycle helmets in terms of reductions in mortality, morbidity, injury severity and health care costs, CODES builds proactive partnerships between the traffic safety and public health agencies, which own the state data, and NHTSA. As a result, existing coalitions that support traffic safety initiatives are strengthened by the data that can justify their priorities.
CODES links crash records to injury outcome records collected at the scene and en route by EMS, by hospital personnel after arrival at the emergency department or admission as an inpatient and/or, at the time of death, on the death certificate. Although crash data indicate the occurrence of injury, they include only limited information about type and severity and no information about health care costs. The injury data may indicate motor vehicle crash as a cause but they do not include information about the characteristics of the crash or vehicles involved. CODES is the only source of real-world crash outcome statewide data that can routinely support traffic safety decisions in terms of their impact on deaths, injury type and severity, and health care costs (charges). These linked crash outcome data are unique resources that relate crash and vehicle characteristics to specific characteristics of the occupants, injured or uninjured. The linkage process itself also enhances each data system participating in the linkage. EMS and hospitals obtain information about the time of onset to evaluate the responsiveness of the trauma system. Roadway inventories expand to include injury outcome information by location point. Driver licensing information is augmented with the medical and financial consequences caused by drivers who are impaired and/or repeat offenders. Vehicle characteristics can be related to specific types of injuries and their costs. For all of the state data systems, data quality improves as the process of linking identifies missing and inaccurate data.
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