|Objectives: The aim of this study was to estimate the potential effectiveness of an in-vehicle automatic collision notification (ACN) system in reducing all road crash fatalities in South Australia (SA).
Methods: For the years 2008 to 2009 traffic accident reporting system (TARS) data, emergency medical services (EMS) road crash dispatch data and Coronerís reports were matched and examined. This was done to initially determine the extent to which there was differences between the reported time of a fatal road crash in the mass crash data and the time EMS were notified and dispatched. In the sub-set of fatal crashes where there was a delay, injuries detailed by a forensic pathologist in individual Coronerís reports were examined to determine the likelihood of survival had there not been a delay in emergency medical assistance.
Results: In 25% (N=53) of fatalities in SA in the period 2008 to 2009, there was a delay in the notification of the crash event, and hence dispatch of EMS, that exceeded 10 minutes. In the two-year crash period, five people were likely to have survived through more prompt crash notification enabling quicker emergency medical assistance. Additionally three people potentially would have survived if surgical intervention (or emergency medical assistance to sustain life until surgery) occurred more promptly.
Conclusions: The minimum effectiveness rate of an ACN system in SA with full deployment is likely to be in the range of 2.4% to 3.8% of all road crash fatalities involving all vehicle types and all vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) in 2008 to 2009. Considering only passenger vehicle occupants the benefit is likely to be 2.6% to 4.6%. These fatality reductions could only have been achieved through earlier notification of each crash and their location to enable a quicker medical response. This might be achievable through a fully deployed in-vehicle automatic collision notification (ACN) system.