Changes in safety on England's roads: analysis of hospital statistics.
Gill M., Goldacre MJ., Yeates DG.
OBJECTIVE: To compare trends in the numbers of people with serious traffic injuries according to police statistics and hospital episode statistics (HES). DESIGN: Descriptive study based on two independent population based data sources. SETTING: Police statistics and hospital episode statistics in England. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of injury and death and their change over time reported in each data source, for 1996 to 2004. RESULTS: According to police statistics, rates of people killed or seriously injured on the roads fell consistently from 85.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to 59.4 per 100,000 in 2004. Over the same time, however, hospital admission rates for traffic injuries were almost unchanged at 90.0 in 1996 and 91.1 in 2004. Both datasets showed a significant reduction in rates of injury in children aged < or = 15, but the reduction in hospital admission rates was substantially less than the reduction shown in the police statistics. The definition of serious injury in police statistics includes every hospital admission; in each year, none the less, the number of admissions exceeded the number of injuries reported in the police system. CONCLUSIONS: The overall fall seen in police statistics for non-fatal road traffic injuries probably represents a fall in completeness of reporting of these injuries.