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TRL to lead phase two of DfT’s in-depth collision research

Tuesday 9th August 2016

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is to lead phase two of the DfT’s flagship programme for in-depth collision research in the UK.

The ‘Road Accident In Depth Studies programme’ (RAIDS) was first launched in 2012 and is one of only two projects operating on its scale across Europe.

Phase two will run for three years until March 2019 and will see a specialist team attend the scene of road collisions minutes after they have occurred and gather real world evidence on causes and consequences.

The data will be used to inform transport policy across the globe, and to help in the development of safer vehicles and infrastructure.

During phase one, more than 1,255 road collisions were investigated.

Andrew Jones, roads minister, said: “We are pleased to continue our work with TRL on the next phase of the RAIDS programme to use and evaluate crash data.

“This information has already helped road and vehicle designers to create safer roads and cars.”

RAIDS differs from investigations carried out by the police because it sets out to understand how people are injured rather than determine responsibility for the collision.

Detailed information is collected about the crash site, including highway features and environmental factors. Vehicle damage is matched to the injuries received, in order to understand how vehicle design can be improved.

Richard Cuerden, TRL’s chief scientist, engineering and technology, said: “The evidence and insight gained from RAIDS is used to inform effective interventions, strategies and policies to mitigate risk and improve road user safety.

“This is especially relevant today given the unprecedented change in vehicle technologies we are experiencing.

“As our vehicles become more technologically advanced, it’s likely that the type of collisions we see will change, so there is an urgent need to ensure all interventions are future proofed and cost effective.

“RAIDS continues to evaluate the performance of new vehicle and infrastructure measures and seeks to identify how, where necessary, these can be improved to maximise safety for all road users.”

 

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Better techniques and new technology by the various emergency services at road collisions do sometimes mean that what was likely to be a fatality years ago would now be a life saved – but possibly still with extremely severe injuries. Injuries that may still have a knock on effect of premature death.

RoSPA had been number crunching the UK government’s own statistics in a new manner recently and seeking to gain acceptance of a new assessment based on PrYLL (preventable years of life lost).

If accepted by “the establishment” this would cause a major change in the priority ranking of the UK’s main causes of years of life lost (a measure used by public health bodies).

Catch the RoSPA presentation called “It’s all about Preventability” if you can. Definitely worth listening to if you haven’t heard/seen it.
Pat, Wales

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
+8

A very timely comment Rod. I was watching a programme last night 'One hour to save your life' and it was said how much they can now do at the roadside to save a life, when perhaps not that long ago, it would have been a certain fatality.

A reduction in road deaths therefore, whilst a good statistic, may at the same time be replaced by an increase in life-changing injuries and is not necessarily a good reflection on road safety and collision prevention, but better expertise amongst the emergency services in dealing with the consequences.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)
+7

Rod, also important not to ignore the burden road trauma has on our health care system and the longer-term impacts socially and economically. Dr Rod McKenzie from Addenbrooke's hospital and I will be speaking about this at the RSGB conference in November. http://nationalroadsafetyconference.org.uk/conference-presentation-will-outline-holistic-approach-to-public-health-and-road-safety/
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

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+7

I think that it is important not to ignore the improving trauma care within the health service and the effect it has on reducing fatalities. This is something that I have pondered for some time. I am not sure if anyone has quantified this in terms of ratios of serious injury to fatality over the years. It may well show that variations in fatality may well be more related to trauma care rather than quantity of collisions.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
+8

Matt - If the idea of these specialist teams is to discover more about how impacts result in certain injuries with a view to improving future vehicle and highway design, that's fine and sounds worthwhile - however it does say in the 3rd para "..gather real world evidence on causes and consequences" and I took that to mean the causes of the collision, whereas perhaps it did mean the causes of certain injuries, in which case I was wrong to criticise.

I do echo Steve of Watford's sentiments re-prevention being better than cure however, although that does seem to be a bit of a lost cause these days.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-11

Hugh, the article on TRL's website states:

"RAIDS differs from investigations carried out by the police because it is designed to understand how people are injured rather than necessarily determine responsibility for the collision. Detailed information is collected about the crash site, including highway features and environmental factors. Vehicle damage is matched to the injuries received, in order to understand how vehicle design can be improved. Data collected is highly valued by governments, industry and the international research community and has been used to inform a number of road safety research projects both in the UK and worldwide."

There is often discussion around effectiveness of vehicle technologies on this forum and this type of research is one of the ways to measure its real-world effectiveness as opposed to relying on NCAP ratings and manufacturer claims based on crash tests. That isn't what the police would routinely focus on so seems very valuable to have additional research alongside so the police can focus on their priorities and I believe the researchers also look at lower severity collisions too.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

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+14

So, despite the Police (including their own collision investigation staff), paramedics and Fire and Rescue having gained first-hand knowledge of collisions and consequences by attending 'minutes after they occured', it is felt necessary for another team of specialists to attend - but this time they're going to obtain 'real-world evidence' - what sort of evidence was it before? I can't imagine what they're going to discover that wasn't apparent before.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (13)
-9

Investigating injury mechanisms is all well and good, but early prevention is better than late, the focus should be on attempting to minimise the risk of an incident occurring, not on minimising its after effects. Least that seems to be the emphasis as quoted.
steve, watford

Agree (0) | Disagree (9)
-9