Road crashes responsible for a fifth of trauma admissions

Road crashes responsible for a fifth of trauma admissions
Road crashes responsible for a fifth of trauma admissions

Road accidents were the second biggest cause of hospital trauma admissions last year, accounting for a fifth of all cases.

As this year’s Road Safety Week gets under way, charity Brake has obtained figures showing that in 2016 20 per cent of all patients admitted to trauma centres in England and Wales were there after being involved in road crashes.

A total of 11,486 road users were admitted to trauma centres with life-threatening injuries – the equivalent of 31 every day.

Analysis of longer-term figures show that motorcyclists make up the largest proportion of casualties – accounting for 25 per cent of admissions – with drivers making up 23 per cent of casualties, pedestrians 21 per cent, cyclists 16 per cent and vehicle passengers 12 per cent.

The data also shows that young people (aged between 16 and 25) are the most affected group, accounting for 21 per cent of casualties.

‘Untold suffering’

The admissions data comes alongside Government statistics which show that 25,893 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads last year.

According to the Department for Transport, speeding or travelling too fast for the conditions was a contributory factor in 11 per cent of all incidents in 2016, with driver error contributing to 71 per cent.

“Even if people survive and make it to the major trauma centre the long-term outcome can still be life-changing”

Ben Walton, North Bristol NHS Trust

Looking only at fatal crashes, speed or travelling too fast for the conditions was a contributing factor in 24 per cent, with driver error at least partly to blame in 65 per cent.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Not only do needless road collisions cause untold suffering but they also place an enormous strain on the NHS and other public services.

“Speeding is a factor in many deadly crashes and remains a major problem. Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it’s a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to ‘Speed Down Save Lives’ for Road Safety Week this year.

“Brake is also calling for a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased enforcement and ‘intelligent speed adaptation’, which helps drivers stay within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new vehicles.”

Ben Walton, adult clinical lead for major trauma in the Severn area, hosted by North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “Road traffic incidents have a serious, often devastating impact on individuals and their families. Even if people survive and make it to the Major Trauma Centre – where specialists work together to help treat their different injuries – the long-term outcome can still be life-changing. There are many ways in which road traffic collisions can be prevented. In particular we urge people to be mindful of the speed they are travelling.”

Lucas Bergmans, head of brand for Aviva, said: “At Aviva we’re all too familiar with the outcomes of road collisions, so we’re 100 per cent behind Brake’s Road Safety Week campaign. Travelling over speed limits can have catastrophic consequences, and these can be easily avoided. Aviva research shows that seven out of ten UK drivers admit to travelling over the speed limit from time to time, so we’d urge all motorists to pledge to keep their speed down, and help to make our roads safer.”

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