EU TRANSPORT ACCIDENT, INCIDENT AND CASUALTY DATABASES:
- CURRENT STATUS AND FUTURE NEEDS
Full report (.pdf format)
Accident and casualty databases are an indispensable tool to allow for objective assessment of the transport safety problem, the identification of priority areas for action and for monitoring the effectiveness of countermeasures.
Such databases at European Union level are needed to describe the current state of transport safety across the EU, to help define target levels of safety for each of the transport modes and to facilitate a data-led systems approach in defining strategies.
The process of creating a range of common data sources necessary for the development and monitoring of the Common Transport Policy began in 1993. Progress has been achieved, especially for road transport, but for other modes basic kinds of data are lacking at EU-level. In order to allow meaningful analyses within each mode and comparison across the modes, further progress is needed.
The purpose of this report is to review the progress made in the development of databases on accidents, casualties and exposure measures for each transport mode and, where gaps exist, to try to identify various options for EU action.
Conclusions and recommendations
- In order to accelerate the development of the activities recommended below and to ensure support annually in the EU budget, ETSC recommends that the development and operation of EU transport accident, incident and casualty databases should receive 100% funding by the Community and should be an explicit budget sub-heading within Line B2-7202 (transport safety) of the EU budget.
ETSC welcomes the progress that has been made so far with the development of road accident databases and Community action now needs to develop as follows:
- Continue to support the CARE/CAREPLUS programme and set a target to expand the numbers of common variables within CARE, develop the convergence of the various national data sets and provide regular estimates of under-reporting for non-fatal crashes, particularly for the seriously injured.
- Widen access to the CARE database, presently restricted by EU or national rules, at least to all relevant road safety research institutes within the EU.
- Establish a limited scale, in-depth crashworthiness data collection programme to demonstrate the value of car crash injury data to the regulatory process. Implement a demonstration project to review future EU safety priorities.
- Establish an injury and accident-reporting system, based on linked hospital and police information. Implement a demonstration project to identify injury priorities and changes in injury patterns due to vehicle design changes.
- Review existing data collection activities in the areas of car, motorcycle and pedestrian accident causation to establish the value of data and their relevance to the competencies and priorities of the EU.
- Ensure that that data collection and analysis is conducted by groups that do not have a stake in the financial consequences of the investigations. Make EU financial support for database activities conditional on the established impartiality of those responsible for managing them, as well as appropriate access.
- Encourage and provide financial support for the collection of exposure data.
- Set up a website-based road safety information system for public use comprising aggregated fatality, exposure and risk data for road transport in all EU Member States, information on national and EU road safety polices, laws (such as year and level of permitted alcohol, speed limits etc.), recent, important research results as well as an annual EU report on road safety developments.
There has been much progress in establishing better arrangements for the investigation and monitoring of air accidents in Member States. The following actions are now needed to allow the monitoring of EU aviation policies for their effect on safety, to provide a larger database from which safety studies can be drawn and to encourage best practice amongst Member States. The EU should:
- Ensure full compliance with Council Directive 94/56/EC on accident investigation.
- Bring forward a Council Directive for mandatory incident reporting, the establishment of a centralised EU database and for the establishment of a European confidential incident reporting system.
- On establishing an European Air Safety Regulatory Authority, establish an organisation independent of this regulator to:
- initiate and maintain a European database of accident and incident statistics as well as more general statistics for the accurate calculation of exposure data
- initiate and maintain an EU system for monitoring the implementation and the effects of any safety recommendations
- initiate safety performance indicators
- initiate a database on injury causation
- encourage further co-operation between the EU air accident investigation bodies.
In view of the trend towards fragmentation of the rail industry across Europe and the pressure for more inter-operability, there is a need to ensure that these developments do not have an adverse impact on safety levels. In order to monitor the effect of Community policies in these areas and to facilitate data-led actions on rail safety, the EU should:
- Introduce a Directive urgently requiring Member States to set up independent arrangements for rail accident investigation.
- Establish an EU-wide system of mandatory reporting of rail accidents.
- Ensure that reports of railway accident investigations are published.
- Ensure that there are reports on all accidents in specified categories. ETSC suggests that as a minimum these categories should include fatal train collisions and fatal derailments.
- Take the lead in organising a database of railway accident reports across Europe, accessible electronically.
- Most reports are in narrative form, and it is these that should be made available in the first instance. The Commission should consider the merits of defining and extracting from the narratives a specified set of descriptive information.
As with the road, rail and air sectors, effective EU policymaking on maritime safety which balances safety with economic and environmental objectives needs to be informed by a range of statistical and in-depth data on maritime and inland waterway accidents, incidents and casualties.
There is an urgent need for better arrangements to be set up to allow monitoring of EU maritime policies and to contribute to a better understanding of maritime safety needs. In particular, attention needs to be given as soon as possible to the following:
- Bring forward urgently a Directive requiring Member States to set up independent arrangements for maritime accident investigation.
- Establish an EU-wide system of mandatory reporting of maritime accidents and serious incidents for inclusion in a European central database.
- Publish annually, in the meantime, annual summaries of maritime accidents in European waters and involving vessels registered in EU countries from the LMIS database to provide basic information on accident and casualty frequency.
- In the event of an EU Maritime Safety Regulatory Authority being established, set up new organisational arrangements independent of this regulator to:
- maintain a European database of accident and incident statistics as well as more general statistics for the accurate calculation of exposure data;
- initiate and maintain an EU system for monitoring the implementation and the effects of any safety recommendations;
- initiate safety performance indicators;
- initiate a database on injury causation; and
- encourage further co-operation between the independent accident investigation authorities in Member States.
ETSC gratefully acknowledges the contributions of members of ETSCís Transport Statistics Working Party to this review:
Working Party Members
Mr. Matthijs Koornstra (Chairman)
Dr. Jeremy Broughton
Mr. Jean-Pierre Cauzard
Ir. Ruddy Dieleman
Mr. Robert Esberger
Prof. Andrew Evans
Ir. Cees Glansdorp
Mr. Lasse Hantula
Mr Werner Köppel
Mr. Frank Taylor
Also Captain Johannes Palmgren from ETSC Maritime Safety Working Party and Messrs. Pete Thomas and Dietmar Otte from ETSC Road Vehicle Safety Working Party.