Report numberRA-2005-75
TitlePreliminary investigation relationship accident – car type
SubtitlePreliminary investigation into the relationship between accidents and car type: availability of data.
AuthorsTobias Denys
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages29
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek
Work packageOther: Infrastructure and space

The objective of this preliminary investigation is to indicate if data can be collected from which the influence of crash incompatibility on road safety can be determined. Therefore data needs to be collected from which the relation between accidents of certain vehicle types and the gravity of injuries of victims can be derived. From this the influence of vehicle dimensions (and their mutual difference) can be derived. In other words, the idea is to verify if certain vehicle types like large and solid passenger cars (SUV, 4WD,     vans, …) influence the road safety of other road users by their larger dimensions, higher weight, etc. Therefore two sorts of data need to be collected and coupled: accident data and vehicle characteristics. To allow the coupling of the two types of data, both of them need to be accompanied by a form of identification of the vehicles involved. In case of accident data, this can be provided for example by the number plate. In case of the vehicle characteristics, this could be provided by the number of type approval.


The federal police stores data from accidents where people got killed or injured into the ‘National Database’. The stored data is assembled by policemen who fill in an ‘Analysis form’ at the scene of the accident. This form is also sent to the ‘National Institute for Statistics’ (NIS). The fact that for this investigation the data should be accompanied by the number plate, makes both agencies reluctant to release their database. This might involve a violation of privacy. A formal request must be sent to the competent authorities in order to obtain permission to use the complete dataset.


Information on accident data from insurance companies appears to be very hard to obtain. Assuralia, the association of Belgian insurance companies, says it does not assemble any type of accident data. The companies themselves are very reluctant to release any data from their customers because of privacy reasons. Informex maintains a cross database for insurance companies, damage experts, car repairmen and wreck dealers, and is unwilling to share any data.


In the next step the accident data needs to be coupled to vehicle characteristics. The link that is provided in most cases is the number plate. Based on the number plate and the date of the accident, the government agency responsible for the registration of vehicles can provide the number of type approval. With this number it is possible to obtain the vehicle characteristics from databases such as Technicar from Febiac and Carwizard from RDC Datacentrum. These databases contain vehicle characteristics (dimensions, weight, segment, …) from all vehicles that are/were available on the Belgian market since a certain date.


Recommendations towards policy consist of an early coupling of accident data with vehicle characteristics. The National Database of the federal police and the National Institute for Statistics should couple their databases with the government agency responsible for the registration of vehicles. This agency should also enlarge the currently used segmentation of vehicles.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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