Objective: To assess the absolute and relative risks of youth school-related travel using the New Zealand's no fault accident liability scheme and Census at School datasets.
Methods: Injury risk associated with traveling to and from school was assessed by combining census data from the Accident Compensation Commission database, New Zealand's no fault liability accident scheme database and the Census at School survey. Population injury and cost was assessed for incidents during a 2-year period (1 July 2003 to 30 June 2005) and during normal school travel hours (7.30 a.m.-9.00 a.m., 3.00 p.m.-4.30 p.m., weekdays) for youth 5-17 years of age.
Results: Overall, 7573 cases were identified as being school travel-related, representing 1.6% of total, and 11.4% school travel period injuries. Walking (30.7%), cycling (30.3%), and motor vehicles (27.7%) provided the majority of injuries. Risk of injury per million trips was highest for cycling (46.1), walking (10.3), and motor vehicle travel (6.1).
Conclusion: These data provide the first comprehensive examination of absolute risk of travel to and from school and by transport mode, showing that school-related travel is a relatively safe activity contributing to a minority of all injuries sustained by youth.