The Queensland government has established a dedicated cross-agency team to better understand the social and economic costs of road trauma using data analytics.
The five-person unit, dubbed the road safety data bureau, will be tasked with analysing road crash and trauma data from various government agencies to help reduce the state’s road toll.
Staff from the state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Police, as well as Queensland’s Motor Accident Insurance Commission and Queensland Health’s Jamieson Trauma Institute will be co-located in the unit.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new unit, which has been funded to the tune of $3 million over four years, would help Queensland understand the extent of the social, emotional and economic costs inflicted by road trauma.
“In 2018, the economic cost of fatalities and hospitalised casualties as a result of crashes in Queensland was estimated at more than $5 billion,” he said.
“Queensland Health data shows almost 15 percent of hospital admissions are attributed to transport crashes across all age groups and account for almost 30,000 patient bed days each year.
"The true road toll includes more than fatalities alone.”
Bailey said co-locating staff in the new team would help to address reporting gaps in Queensland’s road crash and trauma data collection.
He said data on single vehicle crashes, and those involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, were particularly poorly understood because they are “not always reported” and, therefore, “missing from the data”.
“Relationships between these agencies already exist but co-locating these roles will allow us to develop a deeper understanding of the causes of crashes and their impacts,” Bailey said.
“We collect a lot of data across government and industry, so it makes sense for us to explore how data can allow us to make better and faster decisions.
The new unit will also look to understand the mental health impacts of the road toll, alcohol involvement in rear-end collisions, motorcyclist injuries and crashes that don't add to the road toll.
“We have lost 152 lives on Queensland roads already this year,” Bailey said.
“We want the road toll to be zero, and to do that means looking for new opportunities to build on and complement our current road safety program.”