Evidence-based road safety practice in India: assessment of the adequacy of publicly available data in meeting requirements for comprehensive road safety data systems

Traffic Inj Prev. 2012:13 Suppl 1:17-23. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2011.636780.


Objective: To assess the availability and coverage of publicly available road safety data at the national and state levels in India.

Methods: We reviewed the 2 publicly accessible data sources in India for the availability of data related to traffic injuries and deaths: (1) the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and (2) the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH). Using the World Health Organization (WHO) manual for the comprehensive assessment of road safety data, we developed a checklist of indicators required for comprehensive road safety assessment. These indicators were then used to assess the availability of road safety data in India using the NCRB and MORTH data. We assessed the availability of data on outcomes and exposures indicators (i.e., number of crashes, injuries, deaths, timing of deaths, gender and age distribution of injuries and deaths), safety performance indicators (i.e., with reference to select risk factors of speeding, alcohol, and helmet use), and cost indicators (i.e., medical costs, material costs, intervention costs, productivity costs, time costs, and losses to quality of life).

Results: Information on outcome indicators was the most comprehensive in terms of availability. Both NCRB and MORTH databases had data for most of the need areas specified by the WHO under outcomes and exposure indicators. Regarding outcome and exposure indicators, data were available for 81 and 91 percent of specified need areas at the national level from NCRB and MORTH databases, respectively. At the state level, data on outcome and exposure indicators were available for only 54 percent of need areas from either of the 2 sources. There were no data on safety performance indicators in the NCRB database. From the MORTH database, data availability on safety performance indicators was 60 percent at both national and state levels. Data availability on costs and process indicators was found to be below 20 percent at the national and state levels.

Conclusion: Overall, there is an urgent need to improve the publicly available road safety data in India. This will enhance monitoring of the burden of traffic injuries and deaths, enable sound interpretation of national road safety data, and allow the formulation effective road safety policies.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Databases as Topic / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Safety*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult