Fatalities in road traffic: a result of accidents or suicides

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Anna-Lena Andersson
Kenneth Svensson

Most fatalities in road traffic are accidents, but some are suicides. The Swedish Parliament decided in 2010 to identify suicides in road traffic and separate them from fatalities caused by accidents. To undertake this task a method has been developed for classification of road traffic fatalities in order to determine if the fatality was caused by accident or suicide. It can be difficult to assess whether a fatality is due to one or the other. Reporting statistics about suicides is a difficult task as the hidden cases are to be aware of. Vision Zero is the Swedish ethical standpoint against road accidents and it is based on the idea that any loss of life in traffic is unacceptable. No-one should be killed or permanently disabled because of road traffic. In-depth studies are made for all road fatalities in Sweden, since 1997 by investigators at the Swedish Transport Administration (STA). In each case information of the vehicle, the road and event, and the road user are collected. The aim of this study was to assess the number of road traffic suicides by studying fatality from three angles; the vehicle, the road and the road user. The main focus was to devise and undertake a psychosocial examination of the road user.

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