Stats19, the database of reported injury collisions on Britain's roads, is crucial to help support the understanding of how road safety is changing in Great Britain. TRL is a long-term member of the Standing Committee on Road Accident Statistics (SCRAS) and has worked with the Department for Transport to review the scope and content of the Stats19 form (used by police officers to record details of an incident at the scene), and advise on future changes.
The DfT have now finalised their recommendations and asked for further feedback on these. TRL has responded to this consultation with broad support for the proposals, highlighting some areas where additional clarification or information could be of benefit. For example:
- “Powered personal transporter device” is to be added as a new category to the vehicle list. This is a welcome and timely addition to the form, highlighting the importance of being able to understand how new mobility options (e.g. e-scooters, hoverboards, electric skateboards etc.) influence safety in the future, as these become more commonplace on our roads. As researchers working daily on the comparative safety of these options and advising on the possible regulation of their ownership and use, we are very keen to see the Stats19 form distinguish between the emerging vehicle types, but if a catch-all category is the only additional category, we would very much like to see free text description associated with it in order to capture the precise nature of the mobility device.
- Accident location data is now to be mapped to the Ordnance Survey Highways Layer, which will generate valuable new insights; however it is not clear how to access this without an Ordnance Survey licence.
- A change to injury reporting where casualties are now classified as fatal, serious or slight based on the actual injuries sustained is very welcome. Still requiring clarification is the definition of “other head injury” and examples of its classification, so that reporting is consistent.
- A new set of Road Safety Factors is to be collected, which align with the Safe System pillars. This is very helpful in that it removes duplicate and unused categories, and will help collate evidence for Safe System policies. We are concerned that the proposals also include a requirement to assign at least one contributory factor to each participant (vehicle/pedestrian) in a collision, which may introduce bias into the reporting or misuse of the categories.
- The inclusion of the Vehicle Registration Mark (number plate) on the form will be of enormous benefit as it will allow for linking to DVLA for validation and supplementary information. This linking will offer a chance to categorise a vehicle as an Automated Vehicle, but as yet there is no guidance on the definition of an Automated Vehicle.