State wants data on car crashes

With nearly 300 car crashes reported every day in Connecticut, state officials are working to identify trouble spots.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday morning that the University of Connecticut is planning to launch a one-stop-shop for police officers to report car crashes. The university in turn will analyze the data and provide the state Department of Transportation with areas of concern.

“It gives us an instantaneous response of how to prioritize our work,” said Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.

Do drivers keep crashing into the same tree? Does one part of town have a higher rate of drunken drivers crashing? Do bicyclists traveling on Main Street keep getting hit at the same spot?

State officials hope to help local officials answer questions like this, and make changes to improve safety.

“This is important stuff. This is about safety,” Malloy said.

The data will also be available for the public to view online, officials said Monday during a news conference at the State Capitol.

The cost for the first year to open this information clearinghouse is $600,000, provided by federal funding. It is unclear what the future cost will be for the state.

For police departments that manually handwrite their crash reports, this initiative will not require that they digitize their reporting, something that would likely come with a cost.