The WTSC manages the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of all traffic-related fatalities occurring in Washington State.
Research and Data Division (RADD)
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
The WTSC – RADD submits fatal crash information to the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
We analyze the official records on each fatal crash, including:
- Traffic crash reports from law enforcement agencies
- State driver licensing and vehicle registration files
- Death certificates
- Toxicology reports
- Emergency medical services reports
FARS requires data on more than 140 aspects of a crash, the vehicles, and the people involved.
Agency Distinctions in Traffic Fatalities
Sometimes the statistics that FARS reports for Washington in a given year vary slightly from statistics reported by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). In order to be included in the FARS database, the fatality must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public and the death must occur within 30 days following the crash event. The following table explains additional differences in the two reporting systems.
|Agency Distinctions in Traffic Fatalities|
|Topic||WSDOT Data||FARS Data|
|“Catastrophic” Events||Includes any naturally-occurring event, e.g., rockslide or falling trees, that results in a fatality within the trafficway.||Excludes any crashes occurring as a direct result of or during a “cataclysmic” event.|
|Private Way – Related||Does not include cases where crash occurred more than 20 feet from trafficway.||Includes these cases when no barrier to public access exists or the unstabilized situation begins on a public roadway.|
|Non-Motorized Vehicle in Transport||Includes non-motorist fatal crashes not involving a motor vehicle but occurring within the trafficway, e.g., a skateboarder colliding with a utility pole or a bicyclist hitting a curb.||Does not include these non-motorist fatalities because they do not involve a motor vehicle in transport.|
|Fetus-Involved||If a pregnant woman is involved in a collision and her infant is born during or as a result of that collision and subsequently dies, WSDOT will include that infant as a fatality.||If a pregnant woman is involved in a collision and her infant is born during or as a result of that collision and subsequently dies, FARS does not include that infant as a fatality.|
|Parking Lots||Does not include cases occurring in parking lots or parking lot throughways.||Parking lot stalls or aisles are not trafficways and FARS does not count fatal crashes that occur in them. Parking lot throughways, used for vehicular circulation within parking lots and vehicular access to parking lot aisles, are traffic ways; FARS counts traffic fatalities occurring in them.|
|No PTCR Submitted||Does not include cases where no PTCR is submitted||Does include cases where no PTCR is submitted; collects as much pertinent data as possible to code and enter case into FARS data base.|
|Intentional or Medically Caused||May include fatalities when intentional (suicide) or medically caused was not indicated by the investigating agency.||Does not include cases where the coroner or death certificate confirms cause of death to be intentional (suicide) or medically caused (such as a heart attack while driving).|