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Mark Stevenson has taken up a position as Professor and Director of the Division of Injury Prevention and Trauma Care at the Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, heading a team of scientists working extensively in the areas of road traffic injury prevention, musculoskeletal injury and trauma care. Mark was the Director of the Injury Research Centre at the University of Western Australia. His email address is

Professor Caroline Finch has been appointed as the Director of the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. The centre, a joint partnership between NSW Health, the Roads and Traffic Authority, and the Motor Accidents Authority was established to provide excellent risk management advice and research to government agencies and the community. The centre already has the most advanced collection of risk factor/incidence data of its kind in Australia, and has started the task of linking data sets between NSW Health’s inpatient collection and the road traffic accident’s road crash data base. The appointment of Professor Finch is likely to see this capacity further enhanced and a more broadly based profile developed for the centre. Professor Finch is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading injury epidemiologists. She has a background in non-communicable diseases epidemiology, biostatistics, public health interventions, and clinical trials. She has had over 11 years’ experience in injury research and this has been disseminated widely through more than 130 authored publications in peer review journals, book chapters, and government reports. She is best known for her work in sports injury prevention but she has also undertaken significant work in general injury surveillance, road safety, occupational safety, trauma systems, monitoring of injury/trauma outcomes, and health promotion strategies for injury prevention. Her most recent sports injury research has focused on methodological advances in sports injury surveillance, evaluations of the effectiveness of sports injury prevention measures, and assessing attitudinal and behavioural barriers towards sports safety. Crucial to the success of her work has been the establishment of strategic, collaborative research partnerships. She is looking forward to translating the methodologies and approaches she has developed in this work to other areas of injury risk management in New South Wales. Professor Finch took up her appointment in August.

Patricia Waller died on 15 August 2003 at her home in Chapel Hill of colon cancer. She was 70. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, she received a doctorate in psychology from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill in 1959. She joined the UNC Highway Safety Research Center in 1967, serving as associate director for driver studies for 20 years and was a faculty member of the UNC School of Public Health. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Highway Safety Advisory Committee, served on the President’s Council on Spinal Cord Injury, and was a past president of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. In 1987, she became the founding director of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, one of the first five centers of excellence in injury prevention research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She left UNC in 1989 to become director of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan. She retired from the University of Michigan in 1999. She served on expert committees for the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board, the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and won numerous awards and honors for her service. (See the article on p 295 for a longer obituary.)


A paper by Ruth Shults and colleagues, studying the association between State level drinking and driving countermeasures and self reported alcohol impaired driving, published in the June 2002 issue of Injury Prevention, was nominated for the Shepard Award in Science at a ceremony at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June. That a paper is considered for the Shepard Award is itself an honour as only one paper from CDC is selected annually.


A new systematic review Post-licence driver education for the prevention of road traffic crashes was published by the Cochrane Library in 2003. The reviewers conclude that there is no evidence that post-licence driver education is effective in preventing road traffic injuries or crashes. Although the results are compatible with a small reduction in the occurrence of traffic offences, this may be due to selection biases or bias in the included trials. Because of the large number of participants included in the meta-analysis (close to 300 000 for some outcomes) we can exclude, with reasonable precision, the possibility of even modest benefits. (Ker K, Roberts I, Collier T, et al. Post-licence driver education for the prevention of road traffic crashes (Cochrane Review). The Cochrane Library, issue 3, 2003. Oxford: Update Software.)


The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes that the safety of older drivers is a serious public health issue. A recent fatal automobile accident in California involving an 86 year old driver has generated a substantial amount of media attention regarding older driver safety. Through its Older Drivers Project, the AMA is working to increase physician awareness of safety issues specific to older drivers. The AMA is in the process of finalizing the “Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers”, a web based guide for clinicians reflecting scientific evidence and clinical consensus from researchers in the field, representatives from specialty societies, patient advocacy groups, and government agencies.


Injury is a leading cause of premature death and disability in New Zealand. Injuries currently result in about 1600 deaths and 42 000 hospitalisations per year, and 1.4 million claims for injury were accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation in 2000/01. The social and economic cost of injury is estimated to be NZ$6–7 billion per year. This is the background against which the New Zealand government published its Injury Prevention Strategy in June 2003. The New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy focuses on injury prevention, which involves using preventive measures to reduce the number of new cases of injury, and reduce the severity of those injuries that do occur. It establishes an overarching framework for the injury prevention activities of government agencies, non-government organisations, communities, and individuals. The strategy identifies six initial priorities for prevention: motor vehicle traffic crashes, suicide and deliberate self harm, falls, workplace injury (including disease), assault and drowning and near-drowning, which together account for 80% of all injury deaths and serious injuries. The strategy is described as a living document that provides a basis for action. For the next stage of work, an implementation plan for the strategy is being developed by the Accident Compensation Corporation in collaboration with government agencies and a stakeholder reference group. Further information, including access to the Strategy:


Safety experts have a new tool to get a more accurate count of burns related to children’s clothing thanks to a new data collection system launched today by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Developed in cooperation with the American Burn Association and Shriners’ Hospitals for Children, the new National Burn Center Reporting System collects comprehensive burn reports on children under age 15 from the approximately 115 burn centers nationwide that treat children. Under the new system, burn centers will report incidents involving the ignition, melting, or smoldering of clothing worn by children.


England’s Health Development Agency (HDA) is developing its evidence base as an information resource developed by the HDA to support one of its core functions: “to build and disseminate the evidence base for public health, focusing on reducing inequalities”. Evidence base provides online access to the best available information on what works to improve health and reduce health inequalities. It contains systematic reviews of effectiveness, literature reviews, meta-analyses, expert group reports, and other review level information. This database contains summaries of reviews and full reports commissioned or carried out by the HDA, as well as links to reviews and reports elsewhere online. An evidence briefing on injury prevention was published in June 2003. Prevention and reduction of accidental injury in children and older people by Louise Millward, Antony Morgan, and Michael Kelly draws on a range of recent reviews. It highlights measures that have the potential to prevent or reduce accidental injury, with special reference to children and older people, inequalities, and cost effectiveness of interventions. It also identifies gaps and inconsistencies in the evidence about accidental injury and provides guidance for future research commissioning. Visit for access to the evidence briefing.


In July, New York State Governor George Pataki signed into law a bill that increases the requirements for the sale of beer kegs in an effort to prohibit underage drinking and purchasing and to trace kegs found at parties where beer was illegally served to their purchasers. The law, which took effect in November, will require keg purchasers to pay a $75 deposit and provide their name, telephone number, and driver’s license number when a sale is made. They will also have to sign a statement saying they understand the state’s drinking laws and will not allow underage people to drink the beer in the keg. The kegs will have tags, which will include the where it was purchased, the name of the purchaser, and an individual keg identification number. For 90 days, retailers must keep a log of who purchased kegs and when. Purchasers who provide false personal information or deface the identification numbers on the keg may face possible jail sentence of up to a year and a $500 fine. Sellers who don’t follow the provisions face sanctions from the State Liquor Authority, including the revocation of their licenses. Twenty other states have keg registration laws, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.


Crucial crews programmes are experiential learning schemes for children, popular in the UK. While there are a handful of permanent sites, most are run for a week or two during the schools’ summer term. There is a new website, including a virtual crucial crews scheme, is now available at with advice for teachers and organisers.


Over 40 000 people killed and 1 700 000 injured each year: this is the sad testimony to the lack of safety on the roads of the European Union. In the European Road Safety Action Programme 2003–10, which was presented at the beginning of June 2003, the European Commission is pursuing an ambitious overall objective—halving the number of people killed on the roads by 2010. With this initiative, the commission is seeking to guide action by the European Union in the field of road safety, complement the efforts of the member states, and define a clear framework for the sharing of responsibilities between all the parties concerned. In particular, it wants to encourage users to behave better, make vehicles safer, and improve road infrastructure. In addition, the commission will continue to enforce and promote new measures aimed at safe and high quality commercial road transport, while promoting the harmonisation of penalties across Europe. Visit for further information.


A bill requiring children 4–6 years old to be in a booster seat went into effect in July. Previously, child’s car seats were required only for children up to age 4. Research shows that children between the ages of 4 and 8 were three times more likely to suffer a significant injury wearing a seatbelt as opposed to a booster seat. Colorado now becomes one of the 22 states that has some form of booster seat law.


Luchemos por la Vida (“Let’s fight for life”) is a non-profit organization working to help prevent traffic accidents in Argentina, where they cause of 20 deaths each day (more than 7000 a year). More than 130 000 people are injured annually and it is estimated that material losses amount to US$10 billion. Luchemos por la Vida has been established to develop a new awareness of traffic safety in Argentina. Further information (in English and Spanish):


In April 2003, a directive on seatbelt and child restraint use was adopted by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. It requires the use of seatbelts where provided by almost all motor vehicles occupants. Children in cars and light vans will have to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system—at present this is only required when an appropriate restraint is actually available. The new legislation requires children to be restrained by a child restraint system that conforms to the latest UN-ECE standard (regulation 44.03) (its adaptation or equivalent). Safety belts will have to be used by drivers and seated passengers of lorries and coaches as well as in cars and vans. However, member states may exempt children younger than 3 years of age from wearing the safety belts (typically lap belts) in coaches. The use of the rearward facing child restraint on a front passenger seat is prohibited unless the front passenger airbag has been either disconnected or switched off.


The US CPSC has been conducting a series of regional public meetings to establish how all terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used and to get wide views on the safety issues. In announcing the July 2003 meeting in Alaska, CPSC Chair Hal Stratton said that the commission was aware of 83 ATV related deaths in Alaska between 1982 and 2001. Nationally, the commission has reports of 4541 people who died on ATVs during that period. The death rate in recent years has climbed, with commission staff estimating 547 deaths associated with the use of ATVs in 2000 alone. ATV injuries requiring an emergency room visit have more than doubled in recent years—from an estimated 54 700 in 1997 to 111 700 in 2001. In this same period, the estimated number of ATV drivers increased 36%, driving hours grew 50% and the number of ATVs increased 40%, according to a recent commission staff analysis. About a third of the victims injured in 2001 were under 16 years old.


Statistics New Zealand has appointed an injury information manager. The post involves coordinating the production of official injury statistics across agencies that produce injury data and providing a programme of statistics and information services based on an integrated database of injury information. Statistics New Zealand will develop a system to manage injury information over the next three years and progressively produce and publish injury statistics and provide information services.


The number of people killed in sport utility rollover crashes rose 14% last year as total highway deaths hit a 12 year high at nearly 43 000, the US government reported in July. The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported that car crash injuries fell to an all time low in 2002. Child and pedestrian deaths also went down as did fatalities involving large trucks. But in 2002, sport utility vehicle fatalities jumped to more than 2400 victims, with 61% involving rollovers.

Overall fatalities increased to 42 815 in 2002 from 42 196 in 2001. These statistics help underscore the challenge facing regulators, who have redoubled efforts to reduce carnage on the nation’s roads. US motorists travelled more than 2.8 trillion miles last year. Alcohol related fatalities remained unchanged at 41% of the total, or 17 419. And nearly 60% of the total number of people killed in auto crashes last year were not wearing seatbelts.

The nation’s top auto safety regulator, Jeffrey Runge, has launched a high profile campaign to make popular sport utility vehicles safer. Dr Runge is currently relying on an industry-government effort to reduce sport utility vehicle rollover and other risks, but has not ruled out regulations to force changes.


Among a package of dog control measures in New Zealand is a requirement for all dog owners to have a securely fenced area for their dog allowing unimpeded access by visitors to at least one door of the home by July 2006. The muzzling of certain fighting dog breeds will also be required, introducing restrictions similar to those in Australia and a number of European countries.


Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) has released fact sheets containing trend and injury risk data on 4–8 year old children in car crashes, a research collaboration between The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm. Data includes crashes as recent as November 2002. There is an “All Study” fact sheet containing data from the entire study, as well as state-specific data for 13 of the 15 PCPS states: Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The fact sheets are appropriate for use in educating policymakers, legislators, and media, as well as writing grant proposals for intervention programs. People can download full color or copy friendly black and white “pdf” files from (go to downloads). Contact Shannon Morris ( or Suzanne Hill ( with any questions concerning fact sheets usage or the research.


An attempt to break the largest walking bus record is to take place on 7 April 2004. The attempt is expected to see children across the UK simultaneously participating in the world’s biggest bus. To register your interest or for more details, contact Rebecca Kilner (, tel +44 (0)1484 559909.


The US National Injury and Violence Prevention Training Initiative has a new website that people from anywhere may be interested in visiting. Its organisers are seeking input about training resources and needs for injury control practitioners. They are appointing a core competencies expert panel, and will request public comment on the competencies n due course. Web address is


The Canadian Transport Minister has released a discussion document outlining possible strategies to reduce driver distraction from in-vehicle communication technologies, such as navigational systems and internet access. The discussion paper begins Transport Canada’s consultations with road safety stakeholders, outlines Transport Canada’s concerns with the impact of these devices on driver distraction and on road safety, and explores possible options, including regulations, for enhancing the safety of all Canadians. Cellular phones are the most common type of electronic device currently used in vehicles, but other technologies and applications, such as navigation systems and internet access, are entering the market. Under the Motor Vehicles Safety Act, when these devices are offered as original vehicle equipment, they are subject to federal jurisdiction.


At the launch of Safe Kids Week 2003 in June, a survey by Safe Kids Canada and Johnson & Johnson was published, showing that 32% of parents used or had recently used baby walkers with wheels (the type that a baby sits in) for their young children. In Canada, almost 1000 babies are injured every year while using a walker—nearly three walker injuries every day. An estimated half a million baby walkers are currently in Canadian homes, based on the survey findings. The good media coverage during the Safe Kids Week campaign resulted in a number of calls blaming lack of parental supervision as the true cause of the problem, not the baby walkers. This sentiment was mirrored in letters to the editor in a number of Canadian newspapers. Certainly, there is a percentage of people for whom safety messages seem too strident and over-protective; however, this year the criticism seemed to fall squarely on the shoulders of parents. This backlash is of great concern. On the heels of the Safe Kids Week 2003 campaign, Health Canada announced it will be undertaking a regulatory review of baby walkers. An outright mandatory ban under the Hazardous Products Act is one possible result of the review. In the fall, Health Canada issued a consultation document for public input. Despite the apparent popularity of walkers, a post-campaign survey by Safe Kids Canada found that two thirds of parents of young children would support a government ban on baby walkers with wheels. Information on the Safe Kids Week 2003 campaign and advocacy efforts can be found at or contact Rita Mezei at +1 416 813 6144 or


Australia’s Monash University Accident Research Centre and the Kondinin Group (a national farmers’ organization) have developed a tractor safety rating assessment system (STARS). STARS is a design based system which assigns a score for various design features that control the injury risks associated with tractor use. Tractor safety ratings generated with STARS provide a means of comparing the inherent safety features of individual tractors. STARS is divided into nine major categories, and rated tractors receive a score ranging from zero stars for virtually no inherent safety to five stars for the highest inherent safety, for each of these categories. The system has been designed for use by those familiar with tractor design and operations. A copy of STARS, and the results for nine commonly used tractors in Australia, can be obtained from The development of STARS was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Victorian WorkCover Authority.


Injuries have become the leading cause of maternal death during pregnancy and estimates suggest that as many as 8% of all pregnancies incur an injury that results in a hospital visit. With this background, a special panel session on Injuries and Pregnancy: Birth of a New Field was presented at the CDC Safety in Numbers Conference, in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2003. The objectives of the panel were to: (1) review the unique clinical impact of trauma to the fetus and the mother; (2) profile what is known about the risks and impact of trauma on pregnant women from violence, motor-vehicles and falls, (3) understand from a mother’s viewpoint what it is like to have a child seriously injured in utero, and (4) discuss some of the most important questions, research needs and definitional issues, what the barriers are to encouraging more focus on pregnancy related injury issues, and explore the challenges of overcoming those barriers to better understanding and preventing injuries in this the youngest and most sensitive period of human development. A multimedia archive of the six presentations is publicly available on the web site of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Injury Research and Control


Cigarette ignited fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the USA. Approximately 1000 children, adults, and elders are killed annually due to cigarette ignited fires and an additional 3000 are burn injured. Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can regulate fabric and furniture standards, but not cigarettes, injury prevention advocates have been forced to take their demands for safety from cigarette-ignited fires to the state and federal legislatures. The tobacco industry has long known how to create a cigarette that will not ignite bedding or furnishings, causing deadly fires. However, the industry and its lobbyists have been largely reluctant to produce such cigarettes and to let state and federal legislatures impose standards on their deadly but profitable products. The tobacco industry, as indicated in some cigarette manufacturer documents, is keen to rearticulate the debate and focus not on the data that show the causes of fire death, but on redirecting attention for a demand that the CPSC better regulate furniture and fabrics. The year 2000, though, saw two groundbreaking events: New York State passed the nation’s first law requiring the establishment of a fire safety standard for cigarettes sold in the state that was due to take effect 1 July 2003, and Philip Morris began the mass production of a cigarette (its Merit brand) that is significantly less likely than conventional cigarettes to ignite furniture or bedding. In New York, the proposed safety standard recently underwent a period of comment from advocates and the tobacco industry. Advocates are now awaiting the New York Secretary of State’s promulgation of the standard, which, once promulgated, will take effect within 180 days. The Trauma Foundation ( believes, as it has for the last 25 years, that once the tobacco industry is required to create a fire safe cigarette in order to do business in a state such as New York, these fire safe cigarettes will become available across the USA.


The 3rd edition of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard on Children’s Playspaces and Equipments was published this summer. As with the current playground standard, the new standard CSA-Z614-03 is intended to apply to playgrounds built or modified after the standard is published. CSA also published a summary of the changes, comparing the 1998 and 2003 standards. Major changes include new requirements for protective surfacing and special standards for smaller playgrounds. To purchase the 2003 playground standard at C$65, visit CSA at


Something magical happened last month in Costa Rica, a country of four million people. One million, four hundred and two thousand and eighty eight men, women and children signed a petition organized by Casa Alianza, demanding that the National Assembly improve the laws to protect children in this Central American country. During the first seven months of this year, more than 20 children have been murdered in a country that promotes itself as a nation at peace. There is no military and there are a lot of tourists. But this land of “pura vida” (pure life) as the local saying goes, is changing. Whether the politicians and spin doctors like to recognize it or not, the country is becoming more and more violent for its children. The straws that broke the camel’s back were the gruesome murders of Osvaldo, an 8 year old boy who was kidnapped and abandoned to his death and that of Kattia, who at 9 years old was enticed into a neighbor’s house where she was murdered. No one knew that the neighbor had previously been convicted for murdering children. Casa Alianza, sensing the public’s outrage and the politicians’ insensitive reaction, launched a campaign to collect one million signatures to change the current Costa Rican laws where you go to jail for 15 years for stealing a car yet for only two years for stealing a child. The campaign to amend the law hit a nerve in Costa Ricans who were frustrated and outraged over the injustice that reigns in the application of weak laws. The people of Costa Rica broke the one million goal and collected 1.4 million signatures. The project for a new law was presented by Casa Alianza to the Commission on Children, Adolescents and Youth of the National Assembly in August.

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The process for changing the National Building Code (effective in 2005) to reflect safer home hot water temperatures at 49°C will be reviewed by a technical committee consisting of government and industry in fall 2003. The technical committee determines whether regulatory changes being sought are technically feasible, cost effective, and will provide the expected safety benefits. If the change is passed, the National Building and Plumbing Codes will require that “the maximum temperature of hot water supplied by each fixture in a residential occupancy shall not exceed 49 degrees C”. These codes apply to new construction beginning in 2005 and must be adopted by provincial and territorial authorities. While there is more work to be done to improve standards for devices and hot water equipment, the code change adoption would be a major success on the path to preventing tap water scalds in Canada. For further information: Rita Mezei at +1 416 813 6144 or or visit the Safe Kids Canada website


The University of Pittsburgh Center for Injury Research and Control Center (CIRCL) has procured new real time-web collaboration software called vClass ( This program enables multiway internet broadcasting of PowerPoint presentations and application sharing with a variety of interactive tools including chat, voice, shared whiteboard access, and more. It aims to emulate a wired classroom environment, filling a niche beyond videoconferencing, asynchronous distance learning tools, web broadcasting, and tele-video conferencing. The center envisions its use to broadcast interactive online seminars (Webinars), develop an online library of recorded seminars, host presentations/seminars by other research centers, organize virtual open houses to highlight activities, conduct classes regionally and internationally, host EJournal clubs and other uses. You can get download instructions as well as view a recording of the inaugural seminar using this technology on New Developments in the Management of Sports Concussion by Dr Mickey Collins at: Ongoing notices of other vClass hosted public seminars will be posted on the Centers website at: On a trial basis, CIRCL is very interested in working with other institutions to host injury related vClass virtual meeting rooms, with up to 50 connected participants. Email the CIRCL vClass administrator ( if your organization might be interested in using this service.


Concerns over the safety of ATV are being raised in Victoria, Australia where, as in the USA, there has been a marked increase in the number of deaths associated with ATV use. It seems that despite the efforts of ATV manufacturers and farm safety organizations in proving rider training and promoting safe riding, injuries and deaths associated with ATVs are increasing. It is anticipated that the hearings and inquiries in both countries will make further considered recommendations regarding improved safety for ATV riders.

Contributors to these news and notes include Pam Albany, Anna Cronin de Chavez, Lesley Day, Les Fisher, Anara Guard, Jennifer Hall, John Langley, Sharon Morris, Barry Pless, Carol Runyan, Ian Scott, David Sleet, and Hank Weiss. Michael Hayes has edited the contributions. Items for future issues, including calendar entries, should be sent to Michael Hayes at the Child Accident Prevention Trust, 18–20 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3HA, UK (fax +44 (0)20 7608 3674, email as soon as possible.

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