This report presents information on serious injury, that is, injury resulting in hospitalisation but not in-hospital death, due to land transport accidents in 2008–09. There is a focus on road vehicle traffic crashes which accounted for nearly two-thirds of all serious injury. This is a companion report to the report on serious injury due to land transport accidents in Australia for the 2007–08 financial year and the report on trends in serious injury due to land transport accidents in Australia 2000–01 to 2008–09.
Land transport accidents
Land transport accidents accounted for 0.7% of all hospitalisations and 9.8% of all hospitalisations due to injury in Australia during 2008–09. There were 53,406 persons seriously injured due to land transport injury with a mean length of stay in hospital of 4.4 days.
Of those seriously injured, 63.9% (n = 34,116) were injured in traffic (on-road) accidents, while 25.9% (n = 13,855) were injured in non-traffic (off-road) accidents. For 10.2% (n = 5,435) of serious injury cases, the location was not specified.
Males were 2.3 times more likely than females to be seriously injured as a result of a land transport accident, while just less than 50% of those seriously injured were aged less than 30 years.
Nationally, and in each jurisdiction, the age-specific rates of serious injury due to land transport accidents were highest at ages 15–24 years.
Car occupants accounted for 33.6% (n = 17,937) of all serious injury cases, followed by motorcyclists (27.1%, n = 14,493) and pedal cyclists (17.9%, n = 9,572).
Road vehicle traffic crashes
For traffic (on-road) accidents, 47.1% of those seriously injured were car occupants, 24.0% were motorcyclists and 15.4% were pedal cyclists.
For those seriously injured due to traffic (on-road) accidents, 25.8% were judged to be suffering from injuries which were considered to be high threat to life.
Motorcyclists had by far the highest rate of 1,346 serious injury cases per 100,000 registered vehicles. This was ten times the corresponding rate for car occupants (134 per 100,000).
Age-standardised rates of serious injury increased according to remoteness of the person’s usual residence from an urban centre.
The Northern Territory had by far the highest rates of serious injury per 100,000 vehicles for cars, motorcycles and pick-up trucks or vans. Conversely, the Northern Territory had by far the lowest rate of serious injury for buses. The Northern Territory also had easily the highest age-standardised rates of serious injury and serious injury with high threat to life for road vehicle traffic accidents.
For persons with serious injuries that posed a high threat to life, the mean length of stay in hospital (11.8 days) was almost 2.5 times that of all seriously injured persons and was greater for all age groups.