The story behind the story: DUI crashes with Injuries on area roads and intersections

An explanation as to how we did it

WEST PALM BEACH, Fl - Florida had 344,000 crashes in 2014 in which almost 2,500 people lost their lives.

Palm beach County and the Treasure Coast saw more than 32,000 crashes and more than 200 people lost their lives in just 2014.

When a crash occurs a traffic investigator will come out to the scene and will fill out a Florida Traffic Crash Report.

Here's what a crash report looks like.

These reports contain a wealth of information about the crash, including:

  • Crash information: date, time, location of the crash
  • Vehicle information: number and type of vehicles involved
  • Driver information: name, address, condition of drivers involved
  • Passenger information: name, address, condition of passengers involved
  • Non-motorist information: information about pedestrians, bystanders involved

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles collects these reports and keeps the information in a database known as Florida Traffic Crash Facts.

We requested the last three years of Crash Facts that were available (2012-2014) and analyzed close to a million crashes involving more than 2 million drivers.

DUI crashes with injuries

We were interested in finding out for our area how often people get injured or die in crashes that are caused by a driver being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications.

We also wanted to find out where these DUI crashes with injuries occur and what stretches of roads, highways and intersections see the most of these crashes.

In order to find this out we did the following:
We selected crashes that happened in our area.
We selected the crashes where the investigator listed the driver’s condition at the time of the crash as under the influence of medications/drugs/alcohol (Driver Condition At Time of crash), or where the investigator checked boxes indicating that alcohol or drug use is suspected.

We looked to see if any of the Driver(s), Passenger(s) and Non-motorist(s) were injured in the crashes, selecting only the crashes where at least one person was injured.

Cleaning up data

In order to map the locations we looked at the roadway information on the Florida Traffic Crash Report.



Before we were able to do this we had to make sure the roadway information was consistent and clean.

There are several ways to refer to the same roadway, for example:

U.S. Highway 1, or US Highway 1, or US1, or U.S. 1 or US Hwy 1 also known as State Road 5 or S.R. 5 or  SR5, US1(SR5) and so on and so forth.


In order to analyze and map these locations we had to make the references consistent which we did using Google Refine and by hand in Excel. Google Refine

After we cleaned up the data we combined the street and cross street information to figure out the dangerous intersections.

We mapped the locations using Google Fusion Tables.

Check out the map.

What we found

Our analysis shows that  from 2012 to 2014 our viewing area had:

  • 5,486 crashes where at least one of the drivers was suspected to be under the influence of medications, alcohol or drugs;
  • 1,497 DUI crashes where at least one person involved was injured.
  • 1,613 people were injured in crashes where at least one of the drivers was suspected to be under the influence of medications, alcohol or drugs;
  • 162 people lost their lives in crashes where at least one of the drivers was suspected to be under the influence of medications, alcohol or drugs;

Check the map to see the stretches of roads and highways and the intersections where these crashes occurred.

Notes

The locations are approximate, courtesy of Google Fusion tables.
Points on the map can overlap showing just one marker when there are two
We were unable to map a few points because of missing or inconsistent information

Google erroneously mapped several points.

 

Map

Large Red Markers indicate at least one person died in the crash

Small Red markers indicate at least one person in the crash had incapacitating injuries

Small Yellow markers indicate at least one person had non-incapacitating injuries

Click on the points to see the date and time of the crash and see the location information (street, cross street and toown)

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