Data systems: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners

The fifth good practice manual jointly prepared by WHO, GRSP, the World Bank, and the FIA Foundation focuses on data systems for road safety. Reliable and accurate data are needed for a variety of purposes, including for advocating for road safety, identifying specific problems and risks, setting targets, formulating appropriate strategies and monitoring impact. Road safety data, collected every day in most countries, cannot meet these objectives unless they are properly coded, entered in a system, processed, analysed, disseminated and used.

This manual provides practical guidance for establishing data systems that will improve measurement of a country's road traffic injury problem, facilitate selection of evidence-based interventions, and allow for better evaluation of progress. It discusses the use of such data systems to develop policies and interventions and to assess prevention measures.

The manual presents a conceptual framework for data-led road safety management and presents steps for assessing the availability and quality of existing road safety data. It offers guidance both for making improvements to existing road crash data systems, and for the design and implementation of a new road crash data system.

While stressing the importance of comprehensive data systems that cover not only deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes, but also exposure measures, intermediate outcomes and social costs, the manual acknowledges that most countries are struggling simply to establish quality data systems to document deaths and injuries. The practical guidance related to improving data quality and to improving the effectiveness of data systems therefore focuses mainly on data related to deaths and injuries—and more specifically, on the implementation of a crash database derived from police records. A minimum data set and accompanying definitions for such a database is proposed.

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