Knowledge about the factors which contribute to the occurrence of road accidents can make a vital contribution to devising methods for improving road safety. The STATS19 national database of police injury accident reports holds objective details such as age and sex of casualties, and in its early years it also held the more subjective contributory factors which were recorded by police officers. There has been no national system for collecting these details for many years: consequently, a number of forces have ceased to collect these factors and the systems used by the remainder have diverged. A new system has been developed at TRL which could be used in a new national system. It was tested in a three month trial in the summer of 1996 in which eight police forces cooperated. This report summarises the development of the new system, describes the trial and presents analyses of the data collected to demonstrate the type of results that can be achieved. It also presents a summary written by a senior police officer of the benefits to the Police Service of collecting such information. (A)

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