A distinctive aspect of the STATS 19 procedure for collecting road accident data is that the details of over a quarter of a million accidents a year are originally recorded by many thousands of policemen. These records are then collated by the nearly seventy different police forces, processed by the department of the environment statistics divisions and assembled on the Transport and Road Research Laboratory computer. The paper briefly discusses these facets of the work, the means of retrieval of information and some of the uses to which it is put for research purposes. However, most emphasis is given to a discussion of the problems faced by those designing new versions of this most valuable procedure.

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