Analysis of the National Coroners Information System as a data source for fatal crashes
This paper presents an analysis of the use of the National Coroner?s Information System (NCIS) as a data source for fatal crashes, by identifying the various benefits and limitations it possesses. When compared to other road crash databases (e.g. VicRoads CrashStats, ATSB fatal road crash database, etc) the NCIS allows for more comprehensive identification of the events, including the occurrence of multiple crash events, surrounding a fatal road crash.
Despite this higher level of crash detail various limitations of the NCIS are also identified within this study. Low coroner?s case report availability on the NCIS was identified as the first and most important limitation. Many NCIS cases recorded upwards of 25% of key case quality indicators being unknown. The increase in case data quality after viewing of the original coroner?s case files from which the NCIS cases were built was dramatic. The addition of information from police collision reports, crash scene diagrams, crash scene photos and witness statements from the coroner?s file was vital in order to minimise unknown data results to a reasonable level.
It was concluded that while the NCIS proved to be a good source of information for crash event classification (i.e. crash type and/or the identification of multiple crash events) the additional data for describing the failures of the vehicle, driver or road system was limited. This coupled with restrictions injury data lead to the finding that for a detailed study of the failures of the vehicle, road system or occupant of the vehicle crash data from the original coroner?s case file from which the NCIS case was built is required.