Alternative Measures of Serious Injury for National Road Safety Strategy Target Setting
The road safety strategies of jurisdictions across Australia have been developed in accordance with Safe System principles and set targets for reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Victoria's road safety strategy, arrive alive 2008-2017, aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries by 30% over its 10 year life. Whilst the definition of a fatality is clear, the definition of serious injury has been problematic in Victoria as it has been in many other jurisdictions. In general, the definition of serious injury is derived from Police crash reporting. In Victoria, it was changed from being admitted to hospital to being taken to hospital partly as a reflection of poor follow up in establishing hospital admittance, then to a combination of taken and admitted to hospital. In addition, changes to crash reporting systems cast doubt on the accuracy of the measure of serious injury and lead to discontinuities in the serious injury data reported. As a consequence of these changes and operational reporting biases, trends in serious injury over time, a key outcome measure of jurisdictional road safety strategies, may not reflect real serious injury trends or strategy effectiveness. This paper presents alternative measures of injury severity that could be used for road safety strategy target setting. It outlines work undertaken to date in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales that could lead to a nationally consistent measure of serious injury. It then identifies the ICD Injury Severity Score (ICISS) as a common, robust and universally calculable measure that would enable trends in serious injury to be accurately measured and compared across jurisdictions and could be utilised for road safety target setting across Australia with ultimate inclusion in a future National Road Safety Strategy.