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Mapping 10 Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents

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The website Metrocosm recently released a map displaying every fatal accident in the United States from 2004 – 2013.  Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the map displays location pinpoints with information about the individual or individuals who died in the crash; whether the person was a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian; and contributing factors such as alcohol, speeding, or distracted driving.  The map is searchable by address, to display particular neighborhoods or regions.

map of traffic fatalities

Metrocosm analyzes distinct patterns in a handful of cities around the country, but the interactive map allows users to look at their own or any other region of the country, too.  The map doesn’t display information for every contributing factor that is tracked in FARS data, or details such as the time of day and weather conditions of each accident, but it still presents a useful picture for rural and small metro regions to analyze 10 years of safety information.

Metrocosm also recently published a thought-provoking post on the trade-offs of speeding: Speeding – For Every Minute Saved, 2.5 Minutes of Human Life Are Lost in AccidentsMetrocosm, a site devoted to data visualization, is published by Max Galka and provides inspiration to analysts for translating data into information.

USDOT’s FARS also offers users maps of safety data, including more details on crashes by creating data tables through the Query Data interface and displaying the queries in map form, but the maps are limited to one year of data at a time due to complexities in the dataset.

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