Source: The Mercury, 30 November, 1996, p.5


Crash injury statistics make an impact

By EVE LAMB

EIGHT hundred
seriously injured
people occupy a tiny
space as statistics on
paper.

   But to really visualise
the number of people
seriously hurt on Tas-
mania's roads so far this 
year is a different matter 
altogether.

   So anxious to convey 
that difference is the
state's Road Safety Task
Force, that yesterday it
assembled 800 people
just to illustrate its
grave message.

   The 800, mostly
students from Hobart's
Hutchins and Mt Carmel
schools, put the statistic
in true proportion.

   The task force defi-
nition of "serious injury" 
in this case included all 
injuries
involving Motor
Accidents Insurance 
Board claims exceeding
$10,000.

   The cost to the MAIB of
those claims for 1995-96
alone was $83.28 million
and the year before it was
$72.24 million.

   "By bringing 800
people together in the one 
spot the task force felt it 
could graphically portray 
the extent of the prob-
lem," task force chairman 
Paul Hogan said.

   Under the state De-
partment of Transport
definition of serious in-
jury, there had been more 
than 1200 qualifying 
cases on Tasmania's 
roads this year.

   Department road 
safety manager Dr 
Bernard Carlington said 
its definition of serious 
road injury applied to all 
road injury requiring hos-
pital admission.

   Mr Hogan said serious
injury on state roads was
often overshadowed by
fatalities.

   And it cost far more
than initial insurance
claims in terms of lost
earning power, on-going
health care and incalcu-
lable emotional pain, 
Dr Carlington said.

   This year's death toll is
59-five more than the
same time last year.

   Speed, driver inatten-
tion, alcohol and failing to 
give way were identified 
as the main causes of all 
accidents involving in-
jury or death.


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