Title: A Survey of HM Coroners Regarding the Provision of Data on Drugs in Road Traffic Accident Fatalities
Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 26th August 2011
Date published/launched: February 2011
This document reports on the findings of a survey of coroners regarding the provision of toxicology data from road traffic accident (RTA) fatalities to a national database.
The majority of respondents were willing to contribute data via additional questions on the existing form used to report blood alcohol levels in road accident fatalities. The biggest barrier to providing data is a lack of resources. To encourage participation, the data collection process must therefore be as convenient as possible for coroners.
The survey results reflect the views and practices of 71% of the 99 coroners in England and Wales.
With regard to the current frequency of testing RTA fatalities for alcohol and drugs:
• Alcohol is more routinely tested for than drugs, across all road user groups.
• Drivers/motorcyclists are more frequently tested for both alcohol and drugs compared to other road users, especially passengers.
• 79% of responding coroners ‘always’ or ‘often’ test drivers/motorcyclists for drugs.
With regard to providing toxicology data to a national database:
• 80% of respondents are willing to contribute data.
• The preferred data collection method is via additional questions on the existing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) data collection form (form L407).
• The biggest barrier to coroners providing data is a lack of resources (staff, time).
• Assuming the results of the survey are reflective of the wider coroner population, they suggest that, as a minimum, data from around 40% of all adult RTA fatalities would be provided to a national database (counting only those willing to contribute data who ‘always’ or ‘often’ request toxicology on drivers/motorcyclists).
For more information contact:
Department of Transport Research Team
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