The development of a European fatal accident database

A lack of representative European accident data to aid the development of safety policy, regulation and technological advancement is a major obstacle in the European Union. Data are needed to assess the performance of road and vehicle safety and is also needed to support the development of further actions by stakeholders. A recent analysis conducted by the European Transport Safety Council identified that there was no single system in place that could meet all of the needs and that there were major gaps including indepth crash causation information. This paper describes the process of developing a data collection and analysis system designed to partly fill these gaps. A project team with members from 7 countries was set up to devise appropriate variable lists to collect fatal crash data under the following topic levels: accident, road environment, vehicle, and road user, using retrospective detailed police reports (n=1,300). The typical level of detail recorded was a minimum of 150 variables for each accident. The project will enable multidisciplinary information on the circumstances of fatal crashes to be interpreted to provide information on a range of causal factors and events surrounding the collisions. This has major applications in the areas of active safety systems, infrastructure and road safety, as well as for tailoring behavioural interventions.