Road Safety News
 

DfT delays publication of 2016 casualty data

Monday 19th June 2017


The DfT has announced that the planned release of 2016 casualty data, due on 29 June, has been postponed until 28 September 2017.

The postponement of ‘Reported road casualties in Great Britain, main results 2016’ follows what the DfT describes as ‘a delay in the supply of data from some data providers’.

The main results will now be incorporated into the annual report, ‘Reported road casualties in Great Britain, annual report: 2016’ published in September 2017.

Jeremy Phillips, Road Safety GB director of research has described the delay as 'really disappointing', while Bruce Walton, a member of DfT’s Standing Committee on Road Accident Statistics, says it is a 'cause for concern'.

As a consequence of the delay, casualty figures for Q1 2017 (Jan-Mar), previously scheduled for August 2017, will now not be published. The next quarterly update is expected in October, covering the period January to June 2017 (Q1 and 2).

The DfT will also provide final drink drive casualty stats for 2015 and provisional stats for 2016 in two separate publications, rather than one single publication as before. The final 2015 estimates will be published in August 2017, with the first provisional 2016 estimates published
alongside the annual report in September 2017.

Jeremy Phillips said: “The delay in publishing the Main Results section of Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016 is really disappointing, as this has become a useful initial tool for helping Local Highway Authorities (LHAs) put their own performance into a national context.

“But the real issue here is the delay in the national validation of the 2016 data itself, which may have significant implications for LHAs trying to deliver data-led programmes of work.

“It’s often the case – and with good reason – that LHAs won’t commit resource to anything that is not supported by casualty data validated by DfT. 

“The usual date for this is already deep into the financial year and makes prioritising capital works using the previous year’s data set especially difficult. Validation in September 2017 may limit the use of 2016 data for many LHAs until it’s time to programme works for 2018/19.

“There will be many reasons for this delay and it’s important that everyone involved in the data capture, management and validation processes asks how they can contribute towards making the situation better. 

“I suspect this will be an especially vibrant topic of conversation in the RSGB Analyst Network!”


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In a blog on the Road Safety Analysis website, Bruce Walton said: “Why does all this matter? Any road safety professional reading this already knows the answer. The profession relies on intelligence from this data to make informed judgements on optimal ways of allocating scarce resources to casualty reduction, and to evaluate progress made by interventions already implemented.

“Without it we become less well informed and more out of date, and crucially less able to keep decision makers and the media apprised with what is really going on out there on our roads.

“The consequence is likely to be gradual erosion in our professional efficacy when it comes to saving lives.”

Footnote: Analysts working in road safety can apply to join the Analyst Network free of charge. Click here to register your application.

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Validation has been an issue to some degree for several years. Forthcoming new stricter national regulations on data sharing will likely have something to do with the delay as well.
Pat, Wales

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