Serious injuries

Australia does not presently have the systems in place to reliably measure national indicators of serious (non-fatal and disabling) injuries from road crashes, in part because of jurisdictional differences in injury definitions and reporting arrangements.  This is a complex issue and the long-term solution lies with progressive efforts by states and territories to establish databases linking hospital case data with road crash data, and to adopt common standards for case inclusion that will enable national aggregation. The current Action Plan calls for closer examination and testing of this approach (see Action 19), and Austroads has now established a research project intended to test the strengths and limitations of adopting a data linkage approach at the national level.

Data relating to hospitalisations due to injuries from road crashes is available from the National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD). This database is operated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and includes records concerning nearly all episodes of admitted patient care in Australia. The AIHW has previously published information on hospitalised injury (injury resulting in hospitalisation but not in-hospital death) due to land transport accidents. The focus is on road vehicle traffic crashes, which account for nearly two-thirds of all hospitalised injury.