Data shows travel can be a real pain

18 December 2017

A decade of Victorian emergency room data shows that older women are having serious falls on public transport, whereas those most likely to get badly hurt when boating are young men.

David Hourigan, Director, Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) explained that engaging the *Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit to analyse hospital admission data for patients injured on buses, trams or recreational boats during 2005/06-2014/15 is a significant step forward in safety regulation.

“This data helps us understand who’s getting hurt and why and more precisely target our safety messaging and measures,” Mr Hourigan said.

Of the 846 people who presented at hospital with bus-related injuries:

  • 68.3% were female.
  • 64.4% were aged over 60 years.
  • Fractures were the most common injury (47.5%)

Of the 521 people who presented at hospital with tram-related injuries:

  • 60.3% were female.
  • 74.1% were aged 60 years and over.
  • Fractures were the most common injury (49.7%).

Of the 1094 people who presented at hospital with boating-related injuries:

  • 72.1% were male.
  • 29.1% were aged between 15-29.
  • Injuries to the lower extremities were the most common (31.7%).

“TSV receives reports from operators about incidents on buses and trams when a person has been injured and are also notified about serious incidents involving recreational boats.

“We know that our data is incomplete - most recreational boaters don’t report safety incidents. For example, boating collisions represent about 2 per cent of incidents reported to TSV each year, but insurers tell us that collisions comprise around 70 per cent of their claims.

“With the information from the hospital admissions filling in some of the gaps, TSV can influence policy development and be confident that our regulatory approach is based on good quality data,” Mr Hourigan said.

TSV plans to:

  • work even more closely with Yarra Trams and the bus operators on programs to reduce slips, trips and falls on these vehicles
  • engage an economist to quantify the costs of slips, trips and falls to the individual, the State Budget and the Victorian economy overall
  • work with hospitals and the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure coding is more accurate regarding types of accidents and related information
  • update the hospitalisation study periodically.

TSV is committed to continuing to work with transport operators and passengers to ensure that travel is as safe as it can be.

Read the full reports on the TSV research page.

*Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit is part of Monash University Accident Research Centre.