A comparison of hospital admissions data and official government statistics of serious traffic accident injuries

N Z Med J. 1987 Aug 26;100(830):517-20.


Two sources of New Zealand statistics on serious traffic accident injuries were compared for the period 1973-82. The official statistics based on Ministry of Transport reports showed consistently lower figures than the supposedly comparable hospital admission statistics from the Department of Health. The reporting ratio in the official statistics had decreased from 66% of the first admissions to hospital in 1973 to 43% in 1982. The highest reporting ratios were observed for drivers and passengers (66% in 1982). For pedestrians it was 48%, for motor cyclists 45% and for bicyclists 15%. A detailed analysis of reporting ratios for specific types of accidents among children showed that for certain accidents almost none of the injured children were recorded in the Ministry of Transport statistics. It is concluded that these statistics present a distorted picture of the nonfatal road toll and that a new statistical reporting system combining information from several sources is needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobiles
  • Bicycling
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Government Agencies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Patient Admission*
  • Patient Readmission
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*