|Impairment as the result of a medical condition or acute medical event and the role that impairment takes in crash causation has been recognised as a road safety issue for more than three decades. Their contribution to the overall crash problem, however, have frequently been over-shadowed or seen as less important when compared to the risks posed by other road user groups including young drivers and those who are impaired as the result of alcohol.
Between 2008 and 2010 a study was undertaken to determine the proportion of casualty crashes resulting in admission to hospital that were directly associated with the effects of a medical condition or an acute medical event. The study involved examination of the hospital medical records for drivers, riders, pedestrians and cyclists involved in crashes on public roads in South Australia who presented to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for four hours or more during the three year period. A total of 1,490 medical records were accessed.
These records were matched with a number of other data sources including Vehicle Collision Records generated by South Australian Police, licensing records from the SA Department of Motor Registration and drug and alcohol screening records generated by the Forensic Science Centre of SA. This detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding each personís involvement in a crash enabled identification of those crashes that occurred as the direct result of a medical condition or acute medical event, as opposed to those for which a crash participantís pre-existing medical condition(s) were unrelated.
The report outlines the major findings of the study including the medical conditions found to have directly contributed to the crash, licensing considerations before and after crash involvement and the crash types commonly observed.