Predicting road trauma

May 22, 2015

An Australian-first study from Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) has found a link between poor traffic records and road trauma.

RPH Intensive Care Specialist and lead researcher Dr Kwok Ming Ho said RPH was in a unique position to conduct this research as the home of the State Adult Major Trauma Unit (SMTU).

"We used 15 years worth of data collected by the Trauma Registry and matched road trauma patient records to Department of Transport traffic records," said Dr Ho.

"The results were overwhelming, with 60 per cent of the 10,000 patients in the study having prior traffic offences."

"The data shows drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and the use of handheld electronic devices were the main offenses leading to subsequent severe trauma."

The study provides valuable insight by linking behaviour with road trauma risk and identifies opportunities for intervention.

"The average time between the victim’s last traffic offence and their subsequent road trauma was 11 months," said Dr Ho.

"There is an opportunity to reduce a person’s risk of severe road trauma, possibly with intensive education or behavioural change programs."

The SMTU receives 80 per cent of all adult major trauma cases in WA, many of which are flown in from rural and remote areas.