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Practical guidelines for the registration and monitoring of serious traffic injuries, D7.1 of the H2020 project SafetyCube

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posted on 2017-01-18, 10:50 authored by Katherine Perez, Wendy Weijermars, Emmanuelle Amoros, Robert Bauer, Niels Bos, Emmanuelle Dupont, Ashleigh FiltnessAshleigh Filtness, Sjoerd Houwing, Heiko Johannsen, B. Leskovsek, Klaus Machata, Jean-Louis Martin, Nina Nuyttens, M. Olabarria, Lea Pascal, W. Van den Berghe
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Crashes also cause numerous serious traffic injuries, resulting in considerable economic and human costs. Given the burden of injury produced by traffic, using only fatalities as an indicator to monitor road safety gives a very small picture of the health impact of traffic crashes, just the tip of the iceberg. Moreover, in several countries during the last years the number of serious traffic injuries has not been decreasing as fast as the number of fatalities. In other countries the number of serious traffic injuries has even been increasing (Berecki-Gisolf et al., 2013; IRTAD Working Group on Serious Road Traffic Casualties, 2010; Weijermars et al., 2015).Therefore, serious traffic injuries are more commonly being adopted by policy makers as an additional indicator of road safety. Reducing the number of serious traffic injuries is one of the key priorities in the road safety programme 2011-2020 of the European Commission (EC, 2010). To be able to compare performance and monitor developments in serious traffic injuries across Europe, a common definition of a serious road injury was necessary. In January 2013, the High Level Group on Road Safety, representing all EU Member States, established the definition of serious traffic injuries as road casualties with an injury level of MAIS ≥ 3. The Maximum AIS represents the most severe injury obtained by a casualty according to the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). Traditionally the main source of information on traffic accidents and injuries has been the police registration. This provides the official data for statistics at national and European level (CARE Database). Data reported by police usually is very detailed about the circumstances of the crash particularly if there are people injured or killed. But on the other hand police cannot assess the severity of injuries in a reliable way, due, obviously to their training. Therefore, police based data use to classify people involved in a crash as fatality, severe injured if hospitalised more than 24 hours and slight injured if not hospitalised. Moreover, it is known that even a so clear definition as a fatality is not always well reported and produces underreporting. This is due to several factors such as lack of coverage of police at the scene or people dying at hospital not followed by police (Amoros et al., 2006; Broughton et al., 2007; Pérez et al., 2006). Hospital records of patients with road traffic injuries usually include very little information on circumstances of the crash but it does contain data about the person, the hospitalisation (date of hospitalisation and discharge, medical diagnosis, mechanism or external cause of injury, and interventions). Hospital inpatient Discharge Register (HDR) offers an opportunity to complement police data on road traffic injuries. Medical diagnoses can be used to derive information about severity of injuries. Among others, one of the possible scales to measure injury severity is the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). The High Level group identified three main ways Member States can collect data on serious traffic injuries (MAIS ≥ 3): 1) by applying a correction on police data, 2) by using hospital data and 3) by using linked police and hospital data. Once one of these three ways is selected, several additional choices need to be made. In order to be able to compare injury data across different countries, it is important to understand the effects of methodological choices on the estimated numbers of serious traffic injuries. A number of questions arise: How to determine the correction factors that are to be applied to police data? How to select road traffic casualties in the hospital data and how to derive MAIS ≥ 3 casualties? How should police and hospital data be linked and how can the number of MAIS ≥ 3 casualties be determined on the basis of the linked data sources? Currently, EU member states use different procedures to determine the number of MAIS ≥ 3 traffic injuries, dependent on the available data. Given the major differences in the procedures being applied, the quality of the data differs considerably and the numbers are not yet fully comparable between countries. In order to be able to compare injury data across different countries, it is important to understand the effects of methodological choices on the estimated numbers of serious traffic injuries. Work Package 7 of SafetyCube project is dedicated to serious traffic injuries, their health impacts and their costs. One of the aims of work package 7 is to assess and improve the estimation of the number of serious traffic injuries. The aim of this deliverable (D7.1) is to report practices in Europe concerning the reporting of serious traffic injuries and to provide guidelines and recommendations applied to each of the three main ways to estimate the number of road traffic serious injuries. Specific objectives for this deliverable are to: Describe the current state of collection of data on serious traffic injuries across Europe Provide practical guidelines for the estimation of the number of serious traffic injuries for each of the three ways identified by the High Level Group Examine how the estimated number of serious traffic injuries is affected by differences in methodology.


This work was co‐funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union (Grant agreement No 633485 ‐ SafetyCube ‐ H2020‐MG‐2014‐2015/ H2020‐MG‐2014_TwoStages)



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PEREZ, K. ...et al., 2016. Practical guidelines for the registration and monitoring of serious traffic injuries, D7.1 of the H2020 project SafetyCube. Loughborough University, Loughborough: SafetyCube.




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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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