Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research is a research group at UNSW dedicated entirely to road and transport safety research. The philosophy of the road and transport safety research focus at the TARS is the safe system principle, commonly used in occupational health and safety and adopted by the Australian Transport Council in 2004. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach to road safety research and policy development, where researchers focus on Safer Roads, Safer Vehicles, and Safer People and their integration into a Safe System.
TARS research is structured around the essential disciplines needed for an effective transport and road safety research centre: safety policy and systems, psychology, human factors, engineering and crashworthiness, information technology systems, biomechanics, biostatistics, epidemiology, and social sciences. Further information is available here.
Administratively, the TARS research team is located within the School of Aviation in the Science Faculty. This capitalises on the strong research synergies in human factors and transport safety research between the TARS research team and existing researchers in Aviation.
TARS has access to a number of injury mortality and morbidity data collections, such as:
Crashlink NSW: Provided on a yearly basis by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, it includes all traffic accidents, recorded by the police, in which a person was killed or injured or at least one motor vehicle was towed away and the crash occurred on a public road. The datasets contains a wealth of information on the circumstances of traffic crashes including characteristics of the vehicle(s) and the person(s) involved as well as the environmental conditions at the time of the crash.
Motor Accidents Authority Datasets: The Motor Accidents Authority datasets originate from the Third Party personal injury insurance scheme for motor vehicles registered in NSW. The scheme provides compensation for people injured in motor vehicle accidents as a result of another vehicle owner or driver fault. The dataset contains information regarding severity and type of impairment for all injuries recorded as well as the type of health services used after a motor vehicle crash. The dataset also contains detailed costing of motor vehicle crashes, including those associated with legal services, acute care, rehabilitation, aids and appliances, home and vehicle modifications, future care, future economic loss as well as non economic costs.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Death Data: This dataset contains death-related information supplied to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by the State of Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as the Coroner's office, for each calendar year. The ABS checks the information supplied to it and appends codes for the cause of death, the place of residence of the deceased person and numerous other variables. Each registered death is coded according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). Other variables included in the dataset include age, sex, marital status, country of birth, indigenous status, local area and area health service of residence.
National Coroners Information System: The National Coroners Information System (NCIS) is a national internet based data storage and retrieval system for Australian coronial cases. Information about every death reported to an Australian coroner since July 2000 (January 2001 for Queensland) is stored within the system, providing a valuable hazard identification and death prevention tool for coroners and research agencies.
Hospital Admissions: The NSW Admitted Patients Data Collection (APDC) includes information on inpatient separations from NSW public and private hospitals, private day procedures, and public psychiatric hospitals. Included are data on episodes of care in hospital, which end with the discharge, transfer, or death of the patient, or when the service category for the admitted patient changes. Information collected includes patient demographics, circumstances of the incident, diagnoses, and clinical procedures. The APDC is a financial year collection from 1 July through to 30 June of the following year. The hospitalisation data were coded using the International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision, Australian Modified (ICD-10-AM).
Other Data Collections: TARS also has access to a number of other data sources which contain information on specific injury-related issues. These include the NSW Trauma Minimum Data Set, NSW Population Health Survey data, NSW Emergency Department Data Collection, Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, and the Workers' Compensation Scheme Statistics.
The IRMRC Crash Investigation Study (ICIS) will involve detailed crash investigation of a random selection of approximately 100 police-reported injury crashes in the Sydney region and selected rural areas of NSW, in order to provide information about the causes, patient journey and cost to the community of a sample of severe road trauma cases in NSW. The objective is to gain a greater understanding of the:
The Australian Naturalistic Driving Study (ANDS) aims to understand what people do when driving their cars in normal and safety-critical situations. Outcomes from this study will be used to derive answers to some important road safety-related research questions that can only be answered using this innovative research method. Answers to these questions will be used to develop new road safety programs, policies and products that are expected to save many lives and prevent many serious injuries.In this study, 360 volunteer participants (180 from NSW and 180 from VIC) will have their private vehicle equipped with a data collection system for 4 months. The system will silently record a participant's driving behaviour (e.g. where they are looking), the behaviour of their vehicle (e.g. speed, lane position) and the behaviour of other road users with whom they interact (e.g. other drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians) in normal and safety-critical situations. Each data collection system will incorporate multiple sensors (video cameras, a still camera, GPS, radar, accelerometers, etc.) to provide a complete picture of driver, vehicle and road user behaviour in all driving situations.
Using advanced technologies and sensors, the Australian Naturalistic Driving Study (ANDS) will allow researchers to understand how everyday Australians drive and interact with road users.
Results will be used to develop new road safety programs, policies and products that are expected to save many lives and prevent many serious injuries.
Comprehensive information about the circumstances and outcomes of road traffic crashes is vital to underpin the development of road safety policy and traffic safety interventions aimed at reducing the high burden of road crashes in New South Wales (NSW). Information on the number and incidence of road traffic crashes in NSW can be obtained from a number of administrative data collections, including police-reported crashes, the Motor Accidents Authority (MAA) third party claims database and the Lifetime Care and Support Authority (LTCSA) claims data. However, none of these data collections alone can supply all the information needed to provide a comprehensive description of road trauma in NSW.
Descriptive information on the crash circumstances involving different road users and different types of injuries can be useful to examine crash characteristics, monitor injury outcomes and costs associated with injuries, particularly severe injuries. Three of the most frequent and/or costly injuries that result from road traffic crashes in NSW are whiplash neck injuries, head injuries, and spinal injuries.
By linking information recorded on road trauma from police reports, third party compensation claims, mortality data, hospital admission and emergency department presentations and conducting a retrospective analysis of these multiple linked data collections, 2 research reports for the New South Wales (NSW) government examined: (i) linkage rates for each road user category and factors associated with the probability of record linkage; and (ii) trends of serious non-fatal injury by road user category over time, especially focussing on whiplash injuries and catastrophic injury cases such as brain injury and spinal cord injury.
For further information contact: Dr Mike Bambach.
This project is looking at the accuracy with which drivers can judge their own fatigue and declining driving performance in both a driving simulator and on-road using an instrumented vehicle. Current road safety advice to drivers tells them to 'take a break when you feel tired'. Unfortunately, there is some doubt over whether people are very accurate at determining when they are too tired to drive. The results of this project will help to develop better strategies for managing driver fatigue.
The project commenced with a literature review that was published in the Journal of Safety Science (Mooren, L., Grzebieta, R., Williamson, A., Olivier, J., Friswell, R., 2014. Safety management for heavy vehicle transport: A review of the literature. Safety Science 62, 79-89.) The operational and management characteristics that were associated with reduced crash and injury risk included: safety training, management commitment, scheduling or journey planning, size of organisation or freight type, worker participation, incentives and safety or return to work policies. Other characteristics that might be associated with lower incident and injury rates were risk analysis/corrective actions, prior safety violations, crashes or incidents, vehicle conditions or physical work environment, vehicle technologies, recruitment and retention, pay and remuneration systems, communications/support, safety or quality management accreditation, financial performance, and worker characteristics and attitudes.
These characteristics were then used to formulate survey questions. This survey was administered to 50 companies to determine the differences in organizational and management features between companies with low insurance claim rates and higher insurance claim rates.
The results of this survey are reported in a paper published in the Journal of Safety Science (Mooren, L., Williamson, A., Friswell, R., Olivier, J., Grzebieta, R., Magableh, F., 2014. What are the differences in management characteristics of heavy vehicle operators with high insurance claims versus low insurance claims?. Safety Science 70, 327-338.)
In order to confirm findings from the first survey as well as to gain a fuller understanding of safety management in these companies, a sample of companies were visited for a more in-depth investigation, that included interviews with managers and drivers, site observations and collection of documents. This data is now being analysed.
The findings will inform the development of a model safety management system suitable for heavy vehicle transport operators.
Various stages of this project have been jointly funded by the Centre for Road safety from the former Roads and Traffic Authority (Stages 1 to 3) now Transport for NSW, the NSW Motor Accidents Authority MAA (Stage 1), NZ Transport Agency (Stages 1 to 3), The Australian Automobile Association (Stages 1 to 3), West Australia Main Roads Office of Road Safety (Stages 1 to 4) and the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation ACC (Stage 4). This project has investigated and characterised motorcycle into barrier impacts, fatalities and injuries associated with such impacts and determined what are the survivability envelopes in such crashes for W-beam, concrete barriers and barrier posts so far. Reports indicate how to reduce the injuries resulting from such crashes utilising innovative injury mitigating engineered systems. Engineered systems such as rub rails and padding have so far been assessed (Stage 4) in terms of the human-structure biomechanical interaction during a crash. Strategies and cost benefit analyses in regards to installation of such barriers have been explored and recommendations for changes to the AS/NZS 3845 (Australian/ New Zealand) Road Safety Barrier Systems and Devices standard are presented in the Stage 4 report.
This report presents the results of Stage 1 of the Motorcycle Crashes into Roadside Barriers research project. Stage 1 determined the crash characteristics and causal factors of motorcyclist fatalities in Australia and New Zealand between 2001 and 2006, when a roadside safety barrier was involved in the crash. The report highlights how infrequent such crashes are (5.4% of all motorcycle fatalities) and that fatalities of motorcyclists involving impact with a roadside barrier predominantly involved steel W beams (73%). The study also highlighted that rider behaviour plays a significant role in motorcyclist fatalities into roadside barriers and that crashes occur predominantly on recreational rides. Alcohol, drugs and speed or a combination of any or all three, were a factor in 2 out of 3 fatal barrier crashes in Australia and New Zealand.
This report presents the results of Stage 2 of the Motorcycle Crashes into Roadside Barriers research project. Stage 2 investigates the crash mechanics and injury causation of motorcyclist fatalities in Australia and New Zealand between 2001 and 2006, when a roadside safety barrier was involved in the crash. Half of the riders slid into the barriers whereas half impacted the barrier in an upright crash posture, and around half of those impacting the barrier upright slid along the top of the barrier. The mean pre-crash speed and impact angle were found to be around 100km/h and 15 respectively. The thorax region was found to have the highest incidence of maximum injury in fatal motorcycle-barrier crashes, followed by the head region. It was recommended that potential thorax chest injury criteria be added to the current European crash test protocol and that an upright impact test be developed for future changes to the AS/NZS 3845 (Australian/ New Zealand) Road Safety Barrier Systems and Devices standard.
This report presents the results of Stage 3 of the Motorcycle Crashes into Roadside Barriers research project. Stage 3 involves a survivability analysis of motorcyclists colliding with roadside barriers, and other types of fixed roadside objects, based on US crash data. The study concluded that while motorcycle crashes into roadside barriers are rare, the placement of a roadside barrier of any type in front of a hazard such as a tree and pole has been found to significantly reduce the risk of serious injury and fatalities for motorcyclists compared to striking the fixed object. A short literature review of the effect of barrier modifications on motorcyclist injuries is also presented in an Appendix B.
This report presents the results of Stage 4 of the Motorcycle Crashes into Roadside Barriers research project. This Stage was funded by the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation ACC with contributing funds from the West Australia Main Roads Office of Road Safety. Stage 4 assesses how sliding motorcyclists can be better protected in collisions with W-beam barriers, with a focus on computer simulations using a human body computer model (THUMS) of motorcyclist impacting protection devices for W-beam (e.g. rub-rails) and other barriers with exposed posts (e.g. post paddings), in order to better understand their injury mitigation potential. Assessment of potential injuries to motorcyclists when impacting concrete barriers has also been investigated. In particular, the study provides the engineering evidence that rub-rail systems provide substantial reductions in injury potential for motorcyclists, in the case of a motorcyclist sliding impact into typical W-beam barriers installed in New Zealand and Australia. Moreover, the report recommends installation of such systems in black spot areas regularly frequented by motorcyclists, i.e. coastal and mountainous tourist roads, providing the greatest benefit to riders.
The Novice Driver Program is a robust multi-component intervention that will use an adult education approach to change the on-road behaviour of young novice drivers in such a way as to reduce their crash risk. Before it is rolled out nationally, the NDP is to undergo a) a Quantitative Outcome Evaluation in Victoria (led by MUARC researchers); and b) a Process Evaluation in NSW. The Process Evaluation for which the UNSW researchers are responsible aims, in newly licensed drivers 18-22 years of age, to identify the practical issues that may need to be resolved in order to implement a nationwide program for your novice drivers. Specifically, to:
The burden of road trauma in Australia remains considerable at around 1,400 deaths and 32,500 serious injuries each year. Estimates suggest that road trauma in Australia costs $27 billion annually. Information that describes the crash circumstances and injury outcomes following road trauma is essential in order to inform the development of road safety policy.
No single data source can provide comprehensive information to describe the who, what, when, where, why and outcomes of road trauma in Australia. Data from the police reports are able to provide information about the circumstances of road crashes, but is not about the nature and outcome of any injuries sustained. Health-related administrative data collections, such as the hospital admission or emergency department presentations, are able to provide detailed information about injuries sustained in traffic crashes and treatment provided, but limited information concerning the vehicle crash and any crash risk factors. In addition, mortality data file is capable of providing information on the cause of death that is not available in police reports.
By linking information recorded on road trauma from police reports, mortality data, hospital admission and emergency department presentations and conducting a retrospective analysis of these multiple linked data collections, a series of research reports for the New South Wales (NSW) government examined: (i) data linkage rates for police-reported road crashes with hospital-based data collections and mortality data collections, (ii) refined definitions of serious road trauma, (iii) examined temporal trends in the incidence of road trauma and in the incidence of serious road trauma by road user, (iv) identified determinants of injury outcome for different road users; and (v) examined the characteristics of road trauma involving Aboriginal people.
Further research has examined:
Effectiveness of bicycle helmets: A case-control study was conducted using the linked police-reported road crash and hospital admission data extract to identify whether bicycle helmet use was associated with reduced risk of head injury in collision with vehicles. This study found that the more severe the injury, the greater the reduction was identified with helmet use.
Motorcycle barrier crashes: This was a retrospective epidemiological study using the linked police-reported road crash and hospital admission data extract to quantify the protective effect of roadside barriers for motorcyclists. The study found, for single motorcyclist collisions, trees, posts and utility poles resulted in a greater number of serious injuries to motorcyclists than guardrail. This research will inform the Australian roadside Design Guides as there appears to be a need to increase severity indices for barriers by around 25% for motorcyclists compared to vehicle collisions.
For further information contact: Dr Mike Bambach.
The project is following a cohort of cyclists over a 12-month period, obtaining information about their cycling patterns, injury and near miss experiences, and attitudinal and behavioural factors, in order to:
The project is following a cohort of cyclists over a 12-month period, obtaining information about their cycling patterns, injury and near miss experiences, and attitudinal and behavioural factors, in order to:
In conjunction with the Australasian Fleet Managers Association (AfMA) and funded by a WorkCover NSW Assist Applied Research Grant, researchers at TARS developed and trialled the useability of a fleet safety management audit tool for light vehicle fleets (i.e. vehicles, such as cars and vans less than 4.5 tonnes). In NSW, around 16% of all vehicle fatalities each year and around 10% of injury hospitalisations following a vehicle crash are thought to be work-related. There are around 800,000 fleet vehicles in NSW and it has been estimated that 20-30% of them crash each year, with drivers of company vehicles experiencing 50% more crashes than private vehicle drivers.
The fleet safety management audit tool was developed by triangulating information from the published literature on fleet safety management practices, conducting semi-structured interviews with fleet managers and fleet drivers regarding fleet safety management practices, and useability testing.
The audit tool assesses the management of fleet safety against five core categories that were identified from the literature and interviews as being associated with fleet safety. These include: (1) management, systems and processes; (2) monitoring and assessment; (3) employee recruitment, training and education; (4) vehicle technology, selection and maintenance; and (5) vehicle journeys.
The fleet safety audit tool is designed to identify the extent to which fleet safety is managed in an organisation. The audit tool can be used to conduct audits within an organisation to provide an indicator of progress in managing fleet safety and it can be used to benchmark performance with other organisations.
The final report is available here.
A couple of the tool is also available:
Mitchell R. Friswell R. Mooren L. (2012) Initial development of a practical safety audit tool to assess fleet safety management practices. Accident Analysis and Prevention 47, 102-118.
For further information contact: Dr Rebecca Mitchell
Technological advances have resulted in new approaches to training for both novice pilots and drivers, such as use of advanced simulation interfaces. Research on the effectiveness of these applications is currently fragmented and it is unclear what might comprise best practice. This research will review this literature and undertake in-depth data analyses of cases studies of novice driver crashes over a decade to identify any changes in crash characteristics over time that might result from these advances. Best practice use of technologies for training novices will be identified with implications for both pilot and driver training.
For further information contact: A/Prof Teresa Senserrick or Dr Rebecca Mitchell.
Rollover crashes account for 12% of all people killed on roads and a disproportionately high 24% of vehicle occupants are killed in vehicles that roll over. Rollovers also account for around 17% of all spinal injuries. This project will focus on establishing which combination of vehicle rollover crash severity, roll kinematics, biomechanical injury criteria, crash test dummy, and restraint systems, address the major proportion of rollover fatalities and serious injuries. The research team will also determine which vehicle components (roof strength, roof geometry, restraint systems, air curtains, etc), or combination thereof, provide the most effective, practical, and cost efficient rollover injury mitigation strategies for regulators, industry and consumers to consider and adopt.
Roof intrusion is one of the multiple safety issues involved in vehicle rollover.
Young drivers are overrepresented in crash statistics, partly because of their risk-taking. Some of the most serious risky driving results from youth development factors, such as poor impulse control. Driver training typically addresses inexperience, but it is increasingly recognised internationally that training that addresses driver immaturity may be more beneficial. This project aims to be the first to develop such training. We will design computer training tasks to accelerate the development of brain areas responsible for impulse control, and assess improvement of performance in these tasks and in driving. Results will improve understanding and management of youth risk-taking.
This section lists concluded research projects.
(Please note that some of the older research can be found on the IRMRC website.)
Injuries, while largely preventable, represent a significant health burden in Australia. Each year injuries account for around 426,000 hospital admissions and 9,900 deaths in Australia and were estimated to cost the health system around $4.1 billion in 2004. Injuries leave many individuals with severe disabilities and chronic conditions that affect their quality of life and often require long-term health care.
On-going health care use is costly, both to the community and to the individual. It can disrupt work, study and leisure pursuits, and have a negative impact on relationships and health-related quality of life. Health care use and injury morbidity has not been extensively examined on a population-basis in Australia. This is largely because no single data collection is able to provide the information necessary for population-based research to examine national health care use and mortality. By conducting national data linkage of each jurisdictionâ€™s hospital morbidity and mortality data collections, health care use and mortality of an hospitalised injured cohort in Australia will be able to be examined over time. The conduct of national data linkage will also allow cross-jurisdictional linkages will be able to be conducted to identify individuals who have used health care services in different jurisdictions, particularly around the borders of Australia states.
This proof of concept proposal, funded by the Population Health Research Network, will examine whether individuals 18 years of age and older who were hospitalised for an injury used health services in the year prior to their injury-related hospitalisation (i.e. pre-injury morbidity data) or in the year after their injury-related hospitalisation (post-injury morbidity and mortality data). It will then compare the health services use of the injured cohort to a non-injured comparison population selected from the electoral roll and matched on age band, sex and area of residence to the injured cohort.
Since 2001, more than 210 Australians have died in quad-bike incidents. Of the 23 quad-bike deaths recorded in 2011, 18 occurred on farms, making quad bikes the leading cause of injury and death on Australian farms. As a strategy to reduce injuries and fatalities from quad-bike use on farms, the Quad Bike Performance Project conducted by researchers from Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research aimed to develop a consumer safety rating system for quad bikes. This strategy is part of a Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) attempt to reduce the high toll of fatal and serious injuries associated with the use of quad bikes in the farming environment.
The results of this project will enable the development of a quad-bike safety rating system for stability, handling, and crashworthiness. Such a rating system would potentially lead to major improvements in vehicle design and safety, and a likely consequent reduction in the number of on-farm fatalities and injuries, similarly to what has been recently achieved by the rating system already used for motor vehicles, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). In fact, safety ratings empowers the consumer to make a choice with vehicle safety considerations factored, thus encouraging design change by the manufacturer, which might not otherwise occur.
Funding for this major project was provided by the Workcover Authority of NSW with a contribution from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC). UNSW TARS lead researcher for The Quad Bike Performance Project (QBPP) is Professor Raphael Grzebieta. The UNSW TARS Project Manager for the QBPP is Associate Professor (Adj.) George Rechnitzer. Sub-project leading consultants for the dynamic handling tests and for the analysis of fatality data were Mr. Keith Simmons and Prof. (Adj.) Andrew McIntosh, respectively. All tests were carried out at the NSW Roads and Maritime Crashlab crash testing facility managed by Mr. Ross dal Nevo.
Project Managers for NSW Workcover are Mr. Tony Williams (A/Director, Operations Group, WorkCover NSW Safety, Return to Work and Support) and Ms. Di Vaughan (Principal Project Manager, Work Health and Safety Division).
A short video prepared by NSW Workcover summarises the issues concerning quad-bike fatalities, the aims of the Quad Bike Performance Project, what tests and how they were carried out, and an overview of what information consumers in a workplace environment can expect to obtain from the project results.
The five major project reports are now available for public access. These reports can be freely distributed with due acknowlegements to the report Authors and project funders (i.e., NSW Workcover and the ACCC). Full acknowledgement for contributions to the Project are made within each report.
Three internationally distinguished peer reviewers were chosen who have extensive experience and are world leaders with respect to vehicle safety and Consumer Safety Star Rating of motorised vehicles, such as the New Car Assessment program (NCAP), independently assessed the reports. They were: Professor Claes Tingvall, retired ex-Director of Safety from the Swedish National Road Administration and ex-Director of EuroNCAP and trustee of Global NCAP; Mr Lauchlan McIntosh, Director of Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and trustee of Global NCAP and President of the Australasian College of Road Safety; and Mr. David Zuby, Senior Vice President of Vehicle Research for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Vehicle Research Center (USA). Their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
Any enquiries concerning these reports or the QBPP can be made to Prof. Raphael Grzebieta.
ABC 7.30 Report (May 7, 2018)
Quad bike crackdown could be coming
ABC Radio National - Background Briefing (March 27, 2016)
The trouble with quad bikes (sequel to April 5, 2015)
ABC Radio National - Background Briefing (March 24, 2016)
Quad bike safety debate rolls on as Victoria moves to mandate protection bars - Report from journalist Ann Arnold
ABC TV - Land Line (Jul. 27, 2015)
On the Safe Side
ABC Radio National - Background Briefing (Apr. 5, 2015)
The trouble with quad bikes
ABC News (Feb. 17, 2015)
Quad bike inquest to examine deaths of eight people, consider law changes
ABC TV - 7.30 (Aug. 26, 2014)
Nine fatal quad bike accidents force rethink on safety regulations
ABC News (Oct. 16, 2014)
Quad bike researchers hope to develop safety star ratings
ABC News (Aug. 26, 2014)
Quad bike deaths: Regulation resisted despite becoming number one cause of fatal accidents on farms
Injuries are one of the leading causes of childhood mortality and morbidity in Australia. A proportion of childhood injury morbidity will involve severe to critical injuries. When a young child is severely injured, it is likely to lead to long-term medical, psychological and financial stress for the whole family. In 2004 the Australian government identified children aged 0-14 as a priority injury issue, but has not implemented any nationally coordinated injury prevention strategies aimed at reducing childhood injury.
The total burden and causes of paediatric injury by injury severity are not clear, and a more accurate snapshot of the incidence and characteristics of severe injury in Australian children is especially needed. This will better inform injury prevention strategies, research priorities and trauma system design, planning and resource needs.
This is a program of research regarding paediatric trauma, being lead by A/Prof Kate Curtis at the Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, and funded by the Day of Difference Foundation and the Thyne Reid Foundation.
Study 1: Led by Dr Rebecca Mitchell, will be a retrospective epidemiological study of hospitalised child injury in Australia and will involve data linkage of hospital admission and mortality data for a 10 year period. The overall objective of the study is to estimate and describe the burden of hospitalised childhood injury and related follow-up care in Australia and to determine the severity of the injuries experienced and factors influencing survival.
Study 2: Led by A/Prof Kim Foster, will involve a prospective, longitudinal study using an embedded mixed methods design, where 30 parents of severely injured children treated at 5 hospitals across Australia will be followed for 2 years following their childâ€™s injury. The study will examine the experiences, unmet needs and outcomes of parents of physically injured children throughout the trauma journey.
Study 3: Led by A/Prof Kate Curtis, will involve a mixed methods study, and will examine the context in which care is provided for severely injured children at 5 paediatric trauma hospitals. This will involve surveys, interviews and a series of focus groups with hospital staff.
Study 4: Led by A/Prof Kate Curtis, will examine the implementation and evaluation of a family support coordinator to assist families of severely injured children.
Recent research examined temporal trends in paediatric trauma outcomes and identified factors influencing survival in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A retrospective review of trauma data from the NSW Trauma Registry during 2003-2008 of children aged 15 years and younger who were severely injured (ISS>15) was conducted. The study included 1,138 severely injured children and found that children who received definitive treatment (i.e. majority of patient treatment and care) at a paediatric trauma centre were between 3 to 6 times more likely have a survival advantage than if they had received definitive care at an adult trauma centre.
There has been anecdotal evidence that Australia's episode-based funding model for hospital treatment results in underfunding of trauma treatment in NSW. Paediatric trauma data for children aged 0-15 years admitted to trauma centres during 2008-09 was linked to hospital financial data and then the actual costs from each hospital were compared to Australian Refined Diagnostic Related Groups (AR-DRG) state wide peer-group average costs. There were 3,493 paediatric patients with a total cost of $20.2 million. Falls ($6.7 million) and road trauma ($4.4 million) had the highest total expenditure. The total costs incurred by trauma centres were $1.4million above the NSW peer-group average cost estimates. Paediatric trauma hospitals tasked with providing trauma care should be appropriately funded and it was suggested that future funding models should consider trauma severity.
This research was awarded "Best research oral presentation" at the Australasian Injury Prevention Conference in Perth in 2013.