As detailed in the chart below from the Tribune, error rates ranged by region from 38% to 63%, so even the "best" regions had large numbers of reports riddled with errors.
State troopers turned in hundreds of error-riddled accident reports in 2007 and 2008, according to an internal audit report compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety last year.
In Hillsboro — the region with the most errors — more than two-thirds of the reports that officers filed in the first half of 2007 contained mistakes, according to the audit, which The Texas Tribune obtained through an open records request. Internal DPS auditors reviewed accident reports from troopers in 22 regions across the state. In 17 of those regions, auditors found that at least 30 percent of the accident reports that troopers submitted contained errors.
As official legal documents, there’s a lot riding on the accuracy of accident reports, which are used to help establish who was at fault in a wreck and whose insurance will shell out for damages and medical bills. Data in the reports also guides transportation policymakers’ decisions about how and where to spend millions of traffic safety dollars. ...
Major Casey Goetz of the DPS highway patrol division, who worked on some of the audits, says that many of the errors were simple, administrative mistakes. Significant errors that auditors found, he said, were corrected. Since the audit, DPS has improved trooper training, and the number of accident report errors has dropped significantly, he says. “We put some checks and balances in place to ensure that wouldn’t ever happen again,” Goetz says. ...Goetz suggested a number of reason[s] for the high error rate. DPS, he says, hired a slew of new troopers who were inundated with new duties, including spending days at a time on border security assignments. And in some areas, he says, there were changes in local leadership that created gaps. “The troop, because of the work volume we all have, was pushing it through and saying, ‘If it’s wrong my sergeant will catch it,’” he says. “The sergeant was saying, ‘This is a good troop,’ and probably just initialing.”
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Accidents Will Happen
The title of this post is the headline to a story by Brandi Grissom at the Texas Tribune published today on the subject of errors in Texas Department of Public Safety accident reports. Here are some notable excerpts: