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