At Clark and Steinhorn, we see the tragic carnage on our roadways reflected in our cases. As a result we are always on the lookout for something to reduce car and truck crashes. The C.O.D.E.S. system has been invaluable in reducing traffic fatalities in Maryland, The District and nationwide. This article examines this program and its many uses.

The Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (C.O.D.E.S.) came into being in 1997 and has assisted states everywhere in evaluating traffic safety problems and reducing deaths from motor vehicle crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was instrumental in creating CODES, which systematically utilizes data obtained from EMS personnel, police, hospitals and other sources, to evaluate collisions in an effort to enact laws and regulations designed to make our roadways safer.

In Maryland the University of Maryland medical school in Baltimore is a focal point.

Because CODES is a national database, different states present different vehicle and roadway safety problems for examination. Nebraska is far more rural than Maryland or The District of Columbia and so a riddle to be answered there was why roadways with a fifty mile per hour speed limit were more deadly than other roadways including those with higher speed limits.

In Delaware CODES examined why 16 and 17 year old drivers had more severe crashes with passengers rather than without. The program has looked at the efficacy of motorcycle helmets (you are crazy not to wear one), why older drivers and occupants are more likely to require hospitalization after car accidents, and why car and truck accidents are more severe when they involve drivers who are not residents of the state where the collision took place.

The system was crafted by using sophisticated mathematical models to integrate data obtained from numerous sources. Because much of the focus is on preventing wrongful death accidents and collsions which produce quadraplegia and paraplegia, it is not sufficient to merely look at police investigations of how a crash came about.

CODES also looks at Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance records along with hospital charts. Personal injury claims emanate from many severe crashes and CODES has access to insurance industry records to follow more closely the treatment course and outcomes post-hospitalization.

Many state agencies and governments have relied on CODES data to promulgate roadway safety laws. As has been examined extensively on this website traffic fatalities are down both in Maryland and nationwide and CODES has certainly played a significant role in this.

The value of a comprehensive, systematic examination of motor vehicle collisions and outcomes is tremendous and yet unless the driving public follows the laws that derive from CODES, wrongful deaths and grievous injuries will continue to be all too common.