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Evidence-based practice in road casualty reduction
  1. Paul Hewson
  1. Dr Paul James Hewson, Room 111, 2–5 Kirkby Place, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK; paul.hewson{at}

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An alternative way is analyzed in which practitioners working to reduce road injury can assess research evidence. Familiarization with published research makes practitioners more confident about evaluating practice in a formal manner.

Evidence-based practice is a mainstream concept in the healthcare community.1 It has had an impact by engendering good practice through judgement of scientific evidence and continued professional development among practitioners. Healthcare professionals may influence injury prevention through advocacy, although their effectiveness for injury prevention has not been studied.2 Advocacy is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a combination of actions to gain “political commitment, social acceptance and system support for a particular goal or programme”.3 Evidence-based policy requires policy-makers to acquire objective evidence of effectiveness, public acceptability and cost-effectiveness. Advocacy may narrow the gap between what is known to be effective, acceptable and efficient, and what is practiced.2

However, it is important to note that a wide range of professionals are tasked with delivering services that are specifically intended to reduce the number of injuries on the road. The World Road Association catalogue the organization of road safety “services” (which can include highway design and remediation, law enforcement, as well as educational/training interventions) around the world.4 Autonomous professionals responsible for service delivery are seen in a number of countries working at a local government level. The UK is a typical example where there is national policy (determined by the Department for Transport (DfT)) and local provision is effected by Police Forces and Highways Authorities. Their level of autonomy is attested by governmental publication; for example, the DfT have issued guidance in relation to pedestrian training, which aims to “assist road safety officers and other practitioners to conduct their own evaluations and to be better informed when commissioning an evaluation”.5 One …

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  • Competing interests: None.