Number of Serious Road Traffic Related Injuries Appears on the Rise

by Jordan Upshaw
Met Eireann have issued a yellow weather warning for this afternoon

Dublin Bay North TD Tommy Broughan has said that figures released relating to serious road traffic collisions highlights the need for “consistent and accurate data collection”.

Figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that the rate of injury has appeared to be steadily climbing for several years.

The provisional figures for the past two were: 827 in 2015 and 953 in 2016. Figures for 2017 are not currently available.

The RSA stated that for 2015 and 2016: “In over 90% of the cases, the injured person was recorded as being taken to hospital.”

The RSA’s definition of a serious injury is: “a person who, as a result of an injury collision, sustained an injury for which the person is detained in hospital as an ‘in-patient’, or any of the following injuries whether or not detained in hospital: fractures, concussion, internal injuries, crushings, severe cuts and lacerations, severe general shock requiring medical treatment.”

Figures provided by the Department of Health in response to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) submitted by Deputy Broughan were much higher. Their figures were: 2,317 in 2015 and 2,347 2016.

The Department of Health figures were compiled using the Hospital Patient Enquiry (HIPE) system. HIPE includes emergency in-patient and day-case data but does not include out-patient data.

The HIPE figures were compiled using an algorithm which gathers information on instances with an external cause code of “road traffic accident”.

A PQ reply Deputy Broughan received last year informed him that “serious injuries” is not a categorisation that is recorded on HIPE.

Out of those, Dublin hospitals saw 713 serious traffic-related injuries in 2015 and 741 in 2016.

According to Deputy Broughan, the information “highlights our need for consistent and accurate data collection”.

He said: “While I understand that Garda at the scene of a Road Traffic Collision are not qualified to determine the level of injury, it is very disappointing that our HIPE system doesn’t have a ‘serious injury’ categorisation.

“These are not insignificant numbers presenting to our hospitals and reinforces my calls for data to inform policy and for a policy focus on serious injuries in RTCs. Most worryingly, available data seems to indicate steadily rising serious injuries due to traffic crashes up to 2017.”

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