Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Even in Canada You Can't Get Reliable Road Accident Data

BrooklynDodger(s) comments: Maybe there's generalizable solution to the problem of under reporting in passive data collection for injuries and accidents. A sampling approach seems better than a census. Public health can't rely on self-reporting by interested authorities.

Cross-analysis of hazmat road accidents using multiple databases
Pages 1192-1198
Martin Trépanier, Marie-Hélène Leroux, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin

Road selection for hazardous materials transportation relies heavily on risk analysis. With risk being generally expressed as a product of the probability of occurrence and the expected consequence, one will understand that risk analysis is data intensive. However, various authors have noticed the lack of statistical reliability of hazmat accident databases due to the systematic underreporting of such events. Also, official accident databases alone are not always providing all the information required (economical impact, road conditions, etc.). In this paper, we attempt to integrate many data sources to analyze hazmat accidents in the province of Quebec, Canada. Databases on dangerous goods accidents, road accidents and work accidents were cross-analyzed. Results show that accidents can hardly be matched and that these databases suffer from underreporting. Police records seem to have better coverage than official records maintained by hazmat authorities. Serious accidents are missing from government's official databases (some involving deaths or major spills) even though their declaration is mandatory.

1 comment:

Ethan Rehman said...

Risk analysis does involve a lot of reliable data. Just the typical transportation already involves a certain level of risk. But hazmat transportation is on a higher level. Having to look into data doesn't mean that you can only look at one source or database to calculate the amount of risk you're likely to have. You're supposed to look into several data collections and cross-examine them. The ones who handle the risk management of hazmat transportation may be held liable for not taking note of such risks.