What is the official definition of a serious road injury?


In the Netherlands, serious road injuries are defined as casualties admitted to hospital with serious injuries due to a road crash, not having died within 30 days after the crash [1] [2] [5]. A road crash is internationally defined as a crash on a public road, in which at least one moving vehicle is involved. To express the severity of the injury, the Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score (MAIS) which extends from 1 (slight injury) to 6 (maximum injury) [6] [7] is used. MAIS is an international standard to indicate the severity of an injury. This score can be derived from the various injuries coded for a patient. The injury severity of the casualty must be MAIS3 [1] [5] or higher to count as a severe injury. Examples of MAIS3 injuries are skull base fractures, hip or femur shaft fractures, or wrist or ankle amputations.

Up to and including 2020, road casualties in the Netherlands were defined as ‘serious injuries’ if their injury severity was MAIS2 or higher (MAIS2+).The national road safety target for 2020 was, linked to the number of serious road injuries according to this definition [8]. Examples of MAIS2 injuries are bone fractures and concussions with brief loss of consciousness. After 2020, the Netherlands switched to a definition starting at MAIS3+ in order to match the international and medical definition of ‘serious injury’ (see the question What is the target for the number of road casualties?).

Up to 2010, the term ‘in-patients’ was used in the Netherlands [9]. This term was abandoned as not all of them proved to have been hospitalised or seriously injured.

Part of fact sheet

Serious road injuries in the Netherlands

In 2021, the number of serious road injuries in the Netherlands was estimated at 6,800. This is similar to the number in 2020, but lower than was to Meer

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