Building the European Road Safety Observatory. SafetyNet. Deliverable 5.3: Review of fatal accident pilot study. Fatal data methodology development report
At present, there are more than 40,000 fatally injured road users each year throughout the 25 EU Member States. A core element of the EC road safety strategy includes a reduction of fatalities by 50% by the year 2010. Part of this strategy involves the requirement for good quality in-depth accident data. Such data are seen as a fundamental pre-requisite for the formulation and monitoring of road safety policy in the EU. Data are needed to assess the performance of road and vehicle safety policies and are needed to support the development of further actions. A recent analysis conducted by the European Transport Safety Council1 identified that no single accident database could meet all of the data needs and that there were major gaps including in-depth accident causation. Specific policy questions at EU level involve the role of road infrastructure in accident causation, the monitoring of progress towards the 2010 targets and the improvement of vehicle design and performance in accident and injury causation. Task 5.1 of the Work Package will use an existing accident investigation infrastructure to develop a broad ranging, intermediate level, fatal accident database. The dataset will be systematically selected according to a defined sampling plan and the data will be broadly representative of the countries in which the data are collected. The data is predominantly being derived from the police documentation of fatal accident investigations. The data recorded will describe the environmental, vehicle and driver factors to provide a description of the whole crash. The data variables have been determined and the database developed. A pilot activity has been completed and a review of this pilot study is the first step before the main data collection phase commences where the data will be gathered and recorded onto the database. The main data collection period will involve investigation of a representative sample of between 2% and 10% of the fatal crashes in each country covered(UK, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland), depending on the magnitude of the fatal population, resulting in approximately 1300 fatal accident cases being collated and analysed. The information provided in the database will contribute a major advance of the knowledge of fatal accidents at EU level and tie in with the EU targets for fatal accident reduction. This report summarises some findings from the task 5.1 pilot study and highlights the methodology that will be used in the study through case study illustrations.