Fifth of patients admitted to trauma centres last year were in road crashes

Updated: 

One in five patients admitted to trauma centres in 2016 were involved in road crashes, new figures show.

Road collisions last year were the second largest cause of trauma admissions, after falls from less than two metres, according to the data obtained by road safety charity Brake.

Some 11,486 road users - the equivalent of 31 a day - were admitted to trauma centres in England and Wales with life-threatening injuries.

The regions with the highest proportion of road collision trauma patients were the Thames Valley (25%), north west London (23%), the West Midlands (23%), the East Midlands (22%) and East England (22%).

Data covering 75,820 road crash victims admitted to trauma centres during the last decade was also analysed.

It revealed that young people, 16 to 25-year-olds, are the most affected age group, accounting for 21% of road traffic trauma admissions.

Over the past 10 years 5,657 children under 16 were admitted to a trauma centre following a road crash, making up 7% of all admissions.

Thirty-two per cent of these were admitted with serious head injury. Children also comprise the biggest age group for pedestrian casualties, accounting for 17% of trauma admissions.

According to the analysis, motorcyclists comprise the largest proportion of admissions (25%), followed by drivers (23%), pedestrians (21%), cyclists (16%) and vehicle passengers (12%).

The findings have been published at the start of Road Safety Week, which is co-ordinated by Brake.

Recent figures from the Department for Transport showed that exceeding the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions contributed to 349 fatal road collisions in Britain last year.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: "Not only do needless road collisions cause untold suffering but they also place an enormous strain on the NHS and other public services.

"Speeding is a factor in many deadly crashes and remains a major problem.

"Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it's a driver's speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can't, how hard they will hit.

"That's why we're encouraging everyone to 'Speed Down Save Lives' for Road Safety Week this year.

"Brake is also calling for a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased enforcement and Intelligent Speed Adaptation, which helps drivers stay within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new vehicles."

Brake commissioned the analysis by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), which records information about patients admitted to trauma centres, set up to deal with the most severe injuries in England and Wales.