The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) is affiliated with the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. For more than 30 years, ITSMR has conducted research and evaluation studies and provided analytical support for programmatic, policy and legislative initiatives to improve highway safety.
Research and Evaluation Studies: ITSMR provides research and analytical support for both New York’s Highway Safety Program administered by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT). ITSMR has conducted research on numerous traffic safety issues including impaired driving, occupant restraints, commercial vehicle safety, distracted driving, speed enforcement and motorcycle safety. ITSMR has been responsible for several large-scale evaluation studies of major New York State initiatives, such as the nation’s first seat belt law and New York’s ground-breaking STOP DWI program. At DMV’s request, ITSMR also conducted a study, mandated by the New York State Legislature, assessing the impact of New York’s cell phone law and other distracted driving behaviors on highway safety. ITSMR is currently conducting a study of the Child Passenger Protection Act known as Leandra's Law. This law makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle. Leandra's Law also requires drivers convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they own or operate for a minimum of six months.
Survey Design and Implementation: ITSMR has developed and conducted a wide variety of survey efforts including the design of statewide seat belt observational surveys for New York, New Hampshire and Vermont in accordance with NHTSA guidelines. Since 1984, ITSMR has conducted New York State’s annual seat belt observational survey and for the past four years, has conducted observational surveys of cell phone use and distracted driving behaviors. Observational surveys of motorcycle helmet use and distracted driving behaviors including cell phone use and texting are also conducted periodically. ITSMR has also conducted periodic statewide telephone surveys on a variety of traffic safety topics including impaired driving, occupant restraints, distracted driving and other driver behaviors. Other survey efforts have included mail surveys, face-to-face interviews and surveys of customers at DMV offices. ITSMR has provided technical assistance in survey design and the development of data collection instruments to several highway safety programs within New York State and to a number of highway safety offices in other states.
Federal Incentive Grant Programs: ITSMR conducts data analyses and prepares the necessary documentation demonstrating New York’s compliance with grant award criteria enabling New York State to qualify for millions of dollars in federal incentive funds. The U.S. Department of Transportation is authorized to provide these grants to the states under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) enacted in 2005 and its predecessor, TEA-21. States that qualify can apply for funding in the areas of occupant protection, traffic records, impaired driving and motorcycle safety. ITSMR also prepares the required quarterly and annual reports on the activities and accomplishments of the programs supported with these funds. During the past year, ITSMR prepared New York’s applications for incentive funds to increase the use of occupant restraints and improve the state's traffic records systems.
Traffic Records: ITSMR was responsible for leading the multi-agency task force charged with developing New York’s Strategic Plan for Traffic Records Improvements and continues to provide leadership for New York’s Traffic Records Coordinating Council (TRCC). For many years, ITSMR has consulted with the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles on traffic records issues, including the redesign of the crash and ticket files. ITSMR has assumed a major role in verifying the accuracy and completeness of data extracted from New York’s Accident Information System (AIS) prior to its public release. ITSMR has ongoing responsibility for extracting and compiling various crash data in tables that are uploaded to the DMV website. Individual data reports are also prepared annually for New York's 62 counties and uploaded to Governor's Traffic Safety Committee website for use by current and prospective grantees in conducting problem identification and assessing progress.
Data Services: ITSMR has extensive experience in formulating queries and extracting data from a number of New York's traffic records systems. For the past several years, ITSMR has been responsible for providing data services on behalf of NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. In accordance with established procedures and protocols, ITSMR responds to ad hoc data requests received by the NYS DMV from internal staff and programs, other state and local agencies, the press and other external customers. Custom data sets are generated in response to some of these requests. ITSMR has also developed expertise in accessing and linking data from different systems to create new data sets for various research studies conducted by ITSMR and other organizations.
Strategic Planning: ITSMR has extensive experience in the development and facilitation of strategic planning processes for various state agencies and groups. Each year, ITSMR provides data analyses and facilitates the planning process for the development of New York’s Highway Safety Strategic Plan submitted annually to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. ITSMR has also assisted the NYS Department of Transportation in the design and implementation of a strategic planning process involving public and private sector transportation safety partners in the development of a comprehensive Strategic Highway Safety Plan required under the federal SAFETEA-LU legislation.