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Oklahoma Traffic Data Linkage Project

Man and woman discussing damaged car.Motor vehicle travel is the primary means of transportation in the United States (U.S.) and traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. young persons 15-20 years of age (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts - Young Drivers, DOT HS 810 817, 2006). The Oklahoma Traffic Data Linkage Project (TDLP) is a joint effort between the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO). The goal of the TDLP is to obtain comprehensive information on traffic crashes by linking data from multiple sources. Linking traffic crash reports and data from the medical care system provides a more complete array of information to better understand motor vehicle crashes and their effects. The data will be used to develop, inform, and evaluate traffic injury prevention programs in Oklahoma.

Data Sources

Traffic Records Data. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Records Management Division, maintains a database of traffic crash reports from law enforcement agencies statewide. The database includes traffic crashes resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500. Information is collected on the vehicles, persons involved, and circumstances of the crash.

Oklahoma Hospital Inpatient Discharge Database. Data for the Oklahoma Hospital Inpatient Discharge database are collected annually by the Health Care Information Division of the OSDH. Reporting is mandatory for all licensed non-federal acute care facilities in Oklahoma, and data are collected on all inpatients.

Vital Statistics. The OSDH's Vital Records Division maintains death certificates on all deaths that occur in the state. On average, death certificates are entered into the Vital Records system within 2-4 weeks following the death. The Cause of Death is then coded using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Data are updated on a weekly basis and provided to the Injury Prevention Service through the OSDH intranet.

Emergency Medical Services.  Emergency medical service providers in Oklahoma are required to provide data to the OSDH's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division on a monthly basis. Reports submitted each month are randomly checked for accuracy and completeness. A new version of the EMS system which will be compliant with the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS ) is being implemented, and the data will be included in the TDLP linking process. The new Oklahoma EMS Information System (OKEMSIS) will collect all data generated after January 1, 2009.

Several states are participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's data linkage efforts using the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) software. Oklahoma currently uses Link Plus Version 2.0 Software. This software is a probabilistic record linkage tool, which was developed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. While Link Plus is a linkage tool for cancer registries, it has become commonly used for various public health data. The Link Plus software can be obtained from the CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries at no cost.

Traffic Data Linkage Project Board of Directors

TDLP Quick Facts

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