Statistical data on critical injuries brings new perspectives to traffic safety

Press release 14th February 2018

Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) & Liikenneturva - Finnish Road Safety Council

The number of people injured in traffic accidents have always been listed under accident statistics, but during the past three years, it has also been possible to separate specific information on the critically injured. Annual fluctuations in the distribution of different injury types between road-user groups has been small, but for example injuries to car passengers have decreased whereas those suffered by unprotected road-users have not.

In 2016, the number of people seriously injured was 892 whereas the previous year it had been 876. Approximately half of these were reported to the police and this way to the official accidents registry. Traffic accidents where the police have not visited the location of the accident are outside the scope of official statistics. The majority of these accidents are cycling accidents and often there is no other party involved. Information on these has been gathered from the Care Register for Health Care. Critical injuries can only be separated from other accidents after a year's delay, because the register does not provide this information for use prior to this.

According to advance notice, last year the police receive information on a total of 5,570 injuries in road traffic. The year before this the number was 5911. In 2015, there were a total of 6,048 injuries.

The number of critical injuries to unprotected road-users in other words pedestrians, cyclists, motor bike and motorcycle drivers has remained nearly unchanged for the past three years, although accidents involving unprotected road-users have decreased during this same time. In 2016, the largest number of critical injuries in relation to population size took place in Lapland, Satakunta, and Southern Ostrobothnia.

"By analysing critical injuries, we can better understand the methods needed for influencing traffic safety, and it will be possible to target traffic safety work more precisely. At the moment, for example, it is important to take steps to reduce the number of critical injuries to unprotected road-users," emphasises Director General Marko Sillanpää.

Regions can apply for project funding for regional traffic safety work from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. Last year, subsidies were granted specifically for improving the safety of school trips. The application period for this year will open during the spring.

More detailed information needed on the critically injured

The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) coordinates the operations of road accident investigation teams and administers the data collected in the investigations. As the number of accidents that result in deaths has declined, the focus of traffic accident investigations has been shifted to critical injuries.

OTI has launched a project in which the investigation of critical injuries is developed and made more effective. Information collected during investigations can be used to prevent accidents. "Critical injuries may result in long-term illnesses, which can be reduced," notes OTI's Road Safety Director Kalle Parkkari.

More attention to the safety of cyclists

Materials based on hospital data supplements the shortcomings in monitoring of road safety in particular in the case of cycling. It is more and more important to monitor the development of safety as on one hand society is investing a great deal to increase cycling and on the other hand electricity-assisted cycling is little by little becoming more popular also in Finland. For this reason, it is important to improve the safety of cycling, and this development can be measured more reliably than previously.

"Because the foundation for safe cycling is created during childhood, the Finnish Road Safety Council has developed a digital learning environment for schools, where teachers can go through the basics of safe cycling in a fun and effective way with their pupils. The lessons on safe cycling learned in virtual reality will in future help produce more safely cycling pupils," predicts Research Director Juha Valtonen from the Finnish Road Safety Council.



Finnish Transport Safety Agency: Marko Sillanpää, Director General, tel. +358 (0)29 5345 210, marko.sillanpaa(at)

Finnish Crash Data Institute:
Kalle Parkkari, Road Safety Director, tel. +358 (0)50 306 9884, firstname.lastname(at)

Finnish Road Safety Council:
Juha Valtonen, Research Director, tel. +358 (0)20 7282 310, firstname.lastname(at)