Monday 26 September 2016

Twice as many hurt on roads as official figures show

Greg Harkin

Published 27/05/2016 | 02:30

A report from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering has found that 10 times more cyclists received clinically serious injuries than recorded by the Road Safety Authority. Photo: PA
A report from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering has found that 10 times more cyclists received clinically serious injuries than recorded by the Road Safety Authority. Photo: PA

Twice as many people are seriously injured on our roads than are recorded by the State, academics have warned.

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A report from Trinity College Dublin's School of Engineering, which drew on several datasets including hospital statistics, has found that 10 times more cyclists received clinically serious injuries than recorded by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Researchers obtained data from the RSA, hospitals and the Injuries Board and warned that Government policy encouraging cycling should include more safety messages. The lack of one comprehensive dataset had previously made it difficult to assess the extent of the problems in Ireland, said Assistant Professor Brian Caulfield.

He said his team got around this problem by drawing upon three sets of statistics. When the Injuries Board data was added to the RSA and hospital cases, a large number of entirely new injuries emerged.

"Even if many of these are minor accidents, they have a large cost for the individuals involved and for society," he said. "These data also need to be taken into account in injury statistics, but we also need more reliable and complete information on the injuries. New injury indicators are clearly needed, since the existing data do not capture the gravity and extent of the problem."

The researchers conclude that injuries need to become a more central part of Ireland's road safety strategy. They say specific policies to deal with injuries need to be developed for cyclists and motorcyclists, for traffic in urban areas, and also for whiplash injuries.

Dr Jack Short, former secretary general of the International Transport Forum at the OECD, said: "This research shows the total social costs of road injuries are now greater than the cost of fatalities, so this subject merits increased policy attention and a higher priority in the Irish Road Safety Strategy."

Irish Independent

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