Photo via Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik.

Photo via Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik.

A new centralized database of New York City fleet vehicle collisions shows city vehicles were involved in 5,605 collisions in 2014, and reveals that a high percentage of injury collisions involve rear-ending.

The database centralizes data previously kept by separate fleets within the city, and with it the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) hopes to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, said Keith Kerman, chief fleet officer and deputy commissioner.

“We want to look at trends for purposes of preventing collisions and preventing injuries. An early trend that we’ve seen is a high percentage of rear-end events, where city vehicles rear end other vehicles, and that leads to injuries or property damage. And that’s a very preventable type of event,” Kerman said. “We want to do as much analysis as possible across types of vehicles, agencies, locations, times of day that we can focus and pinpoint areas where we can prevent collisions, where we can make changes whether that’s in training, or where or how we operate our vehicles.”

The new database, called CRASH, was built into the city’s fleet management software, FleetFocus, from AssetWorks. Launched in February, the database has information for collisions in 2014 for about 50 different agencies within the city, totaling about 18,000 vehicles. Only the NYPD has yet to report its data, which would bring up the total number of vehicles recorded to 27,000.

Kerman said the database is not yet publicly available. DCAS staff is working on making sure agencies understand the results before releasing the information.

Data from 2014 shows that of the 5,605 collisions reported, 378 led to injuries among drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Sedans and SUVs were involved in 127 of these injury events, and collection trucks and ambulances were involved in 109.

DCAS is addressing the high number of rear-end collisions by piloting driver alert technology that will notify drivers when they get too close to the vehicle in front. The device would sit on the dash and work in real-time with no saved data. It not only addresses rear-end events, but may prevent other types of collisions as well. Kerman expects the city to start with 20 vehicles this year and said the department has yet to choose a device.

Other projects New York City fleets have implemented under the Vision Zero plan include the widespread use of EJ Ward’s CANceiver fuel management and vehicle data system, side guards on medium-duty trucks, and a major expansion in safety training. Kerman said so far, 17,000 city employees have received full-day driver safety training since Jan. 1, and the city’s goal is to train all 33,000 authorized drivers at a rate of 1,000 per week.

By Thi Dao