Geographical Distribution of Road Traffic Deaths in England and Wales: Place of Accident Compared With Place of Residence

Information on road traffic fatalities in England and Wales come from two sources: Office of National Statistics (ONS) records giving the place of residence, and police records giving the place of the accidents. This article reports on a study that compared these two measures, exploring the implications of using the same population denominator for both. The number of road traffic deaths occurring in 403 local authority districts in England and Wales during 1995-1999 was compared to the number of deaths to residents in the same period. Large differences were found between the number of deaths in each district and the number of deaths to residents. The expected number of deaths to residents was the strongest predictor of both observed totals. The number of deaths in the district and the number divided by expected deaths of residents were highly predictable from road accident risk factors, but the number of deaths to residents and the conventional SMR (standardized mortality ratio) were not. The geographical distribution of deaths to residents underestimated the risks of fatal road traffic accidents in rural districts, in socially deprived districts, and in districts with higher than average proportions of car ownership, straight roads, major roads, busy roads, dangerous traffic behavior, and long twilight periods. The authors conclude that information on the place of residence of road traffic accident fatalities does not show true variations in accident risk. Police records are better for this purpose.

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  • Authors:
    • Haynes, Robin
    • Jones, Andrew
    • Harvey, Ian
    • Jewell, Tony
    • Lea, David
  • Publication Date: 2005-2


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01003440
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 30 2005 12:56PM