Towards a Global and Harmonized Database for In-Depth Accident Investigation in Europe: The Dacota Project
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2013

The aim with this paper is to describe the procedure for the development of a common methodology for research accident investigation and identifying and training new research teams across Europe. In-depth accident investigation has a great potential to provide researchers, car manufacturers and road administrations with valuable information on how and why accidents and injuries occur. The data can be used to determine the issues where efforts must be focused when research studies are conducted, crash protection countermeasures are designed and policy decisions are taken. Existing European databases are mainly focused on regional or specific stakeholder interests due to the lack of an international network, and there are significant differences in the information collected and how the database variables are coded. This lack of harmonisation precludes any detailed global analysis on the whole EU accident situation. The EU co-funded the DaCoTA project - inspired by previous projects like SafetyNet and TRACE – intended to establish a Pan-European In-depth Accident Investigation Network and to create a European database that could include in-depth accident investigation cases from all the European countries. Built on earlier pilot investigations conducted by previous projects, and following consultation with the range of stakeholders, an in-depth accident investigation system has been developed to standardise and harmonise the data to be collected during the investigations. Based on the new methodology, accident investigation teams from across Europe have been trained to systematically produce high quality research data. A comprehensive, secure, web-based database has been created to centralise the information collected and to analyse the results from the cases. To ensure the harmonisation of the data collected, a pilot study and subsequent data quality reviews were performed. The DaCoTA project has developed a harmonised in-depth accident investigation methodology, openly available in an online manual. From 19 European countries, 22 organisations were trained in the DaCoTA accident investigation methodology. The web based database includes over 1,500 variables related to the road, vehicle, road-user, accident reconstruction and injury analysis. Over 450 of these variables are considered as essential “core variables”. In total, 99 on-scene and retrospective cases have been collected by 18 accident investigation teams using the standard methodology and these have been uploaded to the database for further analysis. Good relationships have been established between the network teams and their local authorities, including the police and hospitals. In some countries, efforts to obtain the necessary permissions to gain access to the accident scenes and to acquire sensitive medical or forensic data is continued. The DaCoTA project has developed the Pan-European in-depth accident investigation methodology, including a network of investigating teams, providing a viable means for the systematic collection of harmonised in-depth accident data for use by researchers, road and vehicle safety related industries and policy makers.

global harmonized database

in-depth database

Road accidents


Eduardo del Pozo de Dios

Adrià Ferrer

Julian Hill

Helen Fagerlind

Chalmers, Tillämpad mekanik, Fordonssäkerhet

Gabriele Giustiniani

Luca Persia

The 23rd International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV), Seoul, Republic of Korea


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