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Worldwide accident data standardization


In: UMTRI Research Review, Vol. 17, No. 6, May-June 1987, p. 1-27

Authors: James O'Day, G. R. Waissi

Information has been compiled on the state of accident data collection in a number of countries--both at the mass data (police report) level and at the in-depth level. In addition to a literature review, personal contacts were made with scientists and engineers in England, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and Australia to discuss current reporting practices for in-depth or case study reports. Police accident reporting forms usually contain almost the same kinds of material in all of the countries studied. This includes information about the location of the accident, time, personal characteristics of the drivers, injury, the environment, and some indication of causation. However, the local development of different conventions for recording such information, and differences in case selection procedures, make it difficult to aggregate data across national boundaries or to compare data from different countries. For in-depth or case study reporting, the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) is used rather consistently worldwide, although not all users keep up with the most recent modifications. The use of the Occupant Injury Classification (OIC) and the Injury Severity Score (ISS) is less universal, although both are used in a number of countries. The most common vehicle damage scale is the Collision Deformation Classification (CDC) or a version of its predecessor, the Vehicle Damage Index (VDI). These practices make the in-depth data more comparable than the mass data. However, since sampling for in-depth cases typically comes from a sampling frame of the police reports, variation in the coverage of police reporting among countries leads to uncertainty in some aspects of the in-depth data files. Some innovations in reporting methods were found in remote places, and it is judged that all could profit from a more frequent and closer communication on the methods for reporting accident information for case studies. It is recommended that a more formal survey be conducted using computerized communication and conferencing techniques during the next year.