• November 1st, 2015

One of the primary objectives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is to reduce the staggering human toll and property damage that motor vehicle traffic crashes impose on our society. Crashes each year result in thousands of lives lost, hundreds of thousands of injured victims, and billions of dollars in property damage. Accurate data are required to support the development, implementation, and assessment of highway safety programs aimed at reducing this toll. NHTSA uses data from many sources, including the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which began operation in 1975. Providing data about fatal crashes involving all types of vehicles, the FARS is used to identify highway safety problem areas, provide a basis for regulatory and consumer information initiatives, and form the basis for cost and benefit analyses of highway safety initiatives.

FARS is a census of fatal motor vehicle crashes with a set of data files documenting all qualifying fatalities that occurred within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico since 1975. To qualify as a FARS case, the crash had to involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public, and must have resulted in the death of a motorist or a non-motorist within 30 days of the crash.

This multi-year analytical user’s manual provides documentation on the historical coding practices of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1975 to 2014. In other words, this manual presents the evolution of FARS coding from inception through present. The manual includes the data elements that are contained in FARS and other useful information that will enable the users to become familiar with the data system. FARS/NASS GES Coding and Validation Manuals provide more detailed definitions for each data element and attribute for a given year