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Paper 27th June 2000 - LGRAS(00)3


1. As there was a Quinquennial Review of the "STATS 19" Road Accident Statistics system in 1997, it is expected that the next Quinquennial Review will be in 2002. As the 1997 Quinquennial Review changes took effect from January 1999, it is expected that any changes introduced following the 2002 Quinquennial Review would be with effect from January 2004.

2. The Standing Committee on Road Accident Statistics (SCRAS) has discussed what should be done to prepare for the 2002 Quinquennial Review. For example, it has been agreed that:

a. it is important to make information about the review more widely available to people involved in the collection and analysis of "STATS 19" data, and to obtain their views on any proposals for changes that are developed. To this end, SCRAS has introduced a newsletter, the first edition of which was sent to LGRAS members under cover of Martin Bolt's letter of 22 November 1999. The next edition is due to appear soon. This newsletter will help to keep the "grassroots" informed of developments. In addition, the Scottish Executive could hold a consultation meeting of LGRAS during the course of the 2002 Quinquennial Review.

b. the issue of how the severity of an injury is classified might be raised in the review. Concern has been expressed that, on the basis of the current "STATS 19" definitions (which appear in the attached copy of page 74 of "STATS 20"), some injuries are classified as "serious" that would not be regarded as serious by many people. An example is that, according the current "STATS 19" definitions, any broken bone is counted as a "serious injury" - but many people would not regard (say) a broken little finger as a "serious" injury. SCRAS has therefore asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) to investigate possible ways of classifying the severity of injuries, and their comparability with information from other sources (eg hospital statistics, perhaps). Any change to the "STATS 19" definition of severity would have implications for the consistency of the statistics (e.g. for the road safety targets for 2010) and for all the organisations which are involved in the collection, processing and analysis of the data (because the "STATS 19" system would have to change in such a way that figures on both the old basis and the new basis were available for a transitional period, possibly of several years, which might require the collection of additional information). Therefore, SCRAS would have to consider any possible change very carefully indeed.

c. the results of the trial of the proposed national system for recording Contributory Factors [see paper LGRAS(00) 4] will inform the 2002 Quinquennial Review's consideration of whether such a system should become part of "STATS 19".

d. the 2002 Quinquennial Review may start with a SCRAS meeting in June 2001.

3. Members of the Group are invited to discuss and comment upon these matters.For example:

  • have they any questions about the above
  • do they feel that the preparations described above are sufficient?
  • would a LGRAS consultation meeting be helpful and, if so, at what point during the review?
  • are there other things that they feel should be done? For example, are there points that they feel should be considered in the review, upon which preliminary work might be done?
  • what are their views on the way in which the severity of an injury is defined at present, and how do they feel it should perhaps be defined in the long-term (for example, should the current "serious injury" code be split into two categories, such as one for "definite serious injury" [e.g. a broken arm] and one for "minor serious injury" [e.g. a broken finger])?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages that they see in different possibilities for the definition of severity?