The purpose of the statistics is to collect and publish information on road traffic accidents in order to create a basis of knowledge for making decisions that can reduce the number of road traffic accidents and the consequences thereof. The statistics on road traffic accidents originate from 1 January 1930. The source of the statistics has until 1 January 2003 been the temporary and final reports from the police. From this date Statistics Denmark only receives an annual extract from the Road Directory with the police's final reports. Apart from this, the most fundamental alterations that have been introduced concern the classification of accidents, the scope of the statistics and the actual reporting procedures.
Until 1938, the classification of accidents was not unambiguous. From 1938 to 1966, accidents were categorized according to the main cause of the accident, which was determined by a legal judgement. From 1967 onwards, this judgement has been replaced by a classification of the accident, which is not based on the concept of blame, but on the actual description of the circumstances surrounding the accident.
From 1930 to 1958, the statistics included accidents resulting in personal injury as well as damage to property. Since 1958, accidents involving only damage to property are no longer covered by the statistics, and from 1967 accidents involving only pedestrians are no longer covered either, whether the accident resulted in a casualty or not.
Up until and including 1975, the police reports were sent straight to Statistics Denmark. In 1976, the reporting system was expanded, so that the highway authorities in counties and municipalities take part in the reporting by locating the accidents. As from November 1997 and up to and including April 2000, a new system of computerized reporting was gradually introduced in the police.
Since 1 January 2003 the police reports have been sent to the Road Directorate from whom Statistics Denmark receives an annual extract.
The statistics on road traffic accidents illustrate the extent and the nature of all accidents involving casualties, who are known by the police. The information on road traffic accidents is classified into three main groups: information about the accident, information about the element (vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles) and information about the person.
Annual extract from the Road Directorate, Road Accident Information System with information for all accidents with injured.
The data is checked for errors. Only few corrections is made. No seasonally adjustment is made.
A general problem concerning the road traffic accident statistics is that they do not include accidents involving casualties, which are not reported to the police. The severity of the accident and the mode of transport are factors, which influence whether the police are involved. Examinations - pooling with the Register of Causes of Death and with registries of casualty award visits and hospital admissions caused by road traffic accidents - have proven that almost all accidents involving deaths are reported. Accidents involving serious personal injury are more frequently reported than accidents involving only slight injuries. Furthermore, accidents involving cars are more frequently reported than accidents involving bicycles and mopeds. In average only 20 per cent of the casualties come to the knowledge of the police. Results of the pooling with registries of casualty award visits can be found in the table MOERKE in Statbank.
The statistics are usually published without delay in relation to the scheduled date - ult. June after the year after.
These include changes in the registration of road traffic accidents resulting in inconsistencies of data as well as the introduction of new variables. Since 1958, accidents involving only damage to property have been omitted from the statistics. In January 1967, the definition of road traffic accident involving casualties was changed to include only accidents involving at least one vehicle. This leaves out accidents involving only pedestrians. From January 1967, the classification of accidents according to main and secondary causes was changed to a classification according to the accident situation, based on an objective evaluation of the course of events leading up to the accident. In January 1981, the definition of slightly injured was changed. Minor bruises, scrapes and the like are no longer considered as slight injuries. In January 1983, the structure and contents of the statistical system were changed. New parameters - e.g., cycle paths, collision point, maneuver concerning the element record, and on driving license and moped license - were introduced. From January 1997, individuals who are admitted to hospital for observation due to concussion should be registered as slightly injured in cases where the diagnosis does not turn out to be concussion of the brain.
Legal changes, such as the introduction of and changes to speed limits and limits for level of alcohol in the blood, and requirements concerning the use of seat belts, helmets, child seats, lights, etc., can influence the overall development in the road traffic accident statistics.
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