In recent years a new collaboration has been formed between highway safety researchers and the medical community. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have sponsored crash investigation studies in which accident reconstructionists work in conjunction with Level I Trauma Center staff. For the first time, the detailed analysis of crash circumstances and injury producing mechanisms is developed in concert with a forensic analysis of injury producing forces and tissue response. Long term patient outcome and rehabilitation costs are also addressed.This paper compares the methodologies employed in this trauma based research with those of other major data systems. It describes the background and focus of each research program and addresses the data needs that can be met.