The establishment and ongoing support of road safety data systems is critical to the effective management of road safety in all countries.
A lack of accurate data has a serious impact on the effective management and delivery of positive road safety outcomes. The issue of under-reporting in many countries needs to be addressed. Guidance is available on how to improve this accuracy.
Safety data is used for identifying the size of the road safety problem, analysis of problems, development of strategy, identification of solutions, for advocacy, and monitoring and evaluation.
Key safety data includes exposure data (traffic volume, population data), final outcome data (deaths and injuries), and intermediate outcome data (average speeds, protective equipment fitment and use, level of drinking and driving, network and vehicle safety quality).
Countries that do not collect this data need to commence this process as a priority. In the meantime crash injury and survey data should be collected on high risk routes (e.g. high volume roads with a recognised fatal and serious injury problem).
Detailed guidance is available on how to establish and improve crash data systems, including the assessment of existing data sources, development of a crash report form, engagement with key stakeholders, development of a crash data system, and ensuring the quality of this data.
Other data is also important for assessing and addressing road risk. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of road asset data (information on safety related road and roadside design elements and features). Where high quality crash data does not exist, this information can be used to identify and treat high risk locations.
Integration of different sources of safety data can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the road safety problem, and a greater ability to put effective actions in place to address this problem.
Accurate and comprehensive road safety data can be used by many stakeholders to help improve road safety.