Instructions:

Identify the place where the occupant was seated when the crash occurred. The majority of crashes will have the driver in seat position 1. NOTE: Mail or foreign vehicles may be right hand drive and the driver will be listed as seat position 3.

Definition:

The location of this occupant in, on, or outside of the motor vehicle prior to the first event in the sequence of events.

Rationale:

Without known seating position for each person in the motor vehicle, it is not possible to fully evaluate, for example, the effect of occupant protection programs.

CodeAttributeDefinitionExample
1Front Seat-Left Seat (or Motorcycle Driver)Typically the leftmost driverside seat. The majority of crashes will have the driver here in seat position 1. If a motorcycle, this indicates the motorcycle’s driver seat. NOTE: Mail-carrying or foreign vehicles may be right hand drive and the driver will be listed as seat position 3.
2Front Seat-MiddleThe front middle seat, if applicable.Front Seat-Middle
3Front Seat-Right SideTypically the front passenger side seat, though mail-carrying or foreign vehicles may be right hand drive and the driver will be listed here as seat position 3.
4Second Seat-Left Side (or Motorcycle Passenger)The leftmost seat in the second row from the front of the motor vehicle. If the vehicle is a motorcycle, this indicates the second row motorcycle passenger seat.
5Second Seat-MiddleThe middle seat in the second row from the front of the motor vehicle.
6Second Seat-Right SideThe rightmost seat in the second row from the front of the motor vehicle.
7Third Row-Left Side (or Motorcycle Passenger)The leftmost seat in the third row from the front of the motor vehicle. If the vehicle is a motorcycle, this indicates the third row motorcycle passenger seat.
8Third Row-MiddleThe middle seat in the third row from the front of the motor vehicle.
9Third Row-Right SideThe rightmost seat in the third row from the front of the motor vehicle.
10Sleeper Section of CabSection in back of truck cab where occupants can sleep.
11Enclosed Passenger AreaUsed for persons in an enclosed area where no defined seating exists, or a fold-down type seat in its folded-down position is used (e.g. persons in the cargo box of a moving truck). For persons in a trailer use ‘trailing unit’.
12Unenclosed Passenger AreaUsed for persons in an unenclosed area where no defined seating exists. Examples include passenger riding in an open pickup bed, top of open double-decker bus, etc. For persons in a trailer use ‘trailing unit’.
13Trailing UnitAttached trailer of a motor vehicle or occupant of a motorcycle caboose.
14Riding on Vehicle ExteriorPerson outside of motor vehicle (on hood, running board, trunk, non-trailing unit, etc.) while riding.
97OtherThis attribute is used for a variable that is not addressed by the previous attribute options.  If this attribute is used, an explanation in the narrative is recommended.
99UnknownUse when the location of the occupant, with respect to Seating Position, is unknown.

FAQ

Why is this field important?

This data can help us determine the impact of seating position on crash outcomes. This type of data has led to lifesaving developments such as rear-facing carseats.

Accuracy Checks

  • Except for unusual circumstances, no passenger should have a Seating Position of ‘1’.
  • If the Air Bag Status code includes any ‘front’ deployment, then Seating Position should be in a ‘front seat’.
  • If Seating Position is ‘riding on vehicle exterior’, then Ejection Code must be ‘not applicable’.

Data Quality Audit Results

Report TypeCompleteIncomplete
Local Police (electronic)11692.8%97.2%
Local Police (paper)13791.9%128.1%
State Police (electronic)6068.2%2831.8%
Total31386.5%4913.5%

Passenger Seating Position is another field where the accuracy could not be verified. In total, this field was completed for 87 percent of the reports reviewed. Similar to other fields in this section, State Police had the highest percentage of reports deemed incomplete, with almost one-third empty. This was true for most passenger fields in this section of the crash report. Some auditors indicated that if there were no passenger injuries, this section was often left incomplete.