9.8.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

Road traffic accidents involving personal injury known to the police and reported by the police to Statistics Finland.

The statistics contain data on the following:
- The accident: seriousness, type, time, number of parties involved
- Location of accident: region, municipality, location on road network, speed limit, intersection
- Conditions: road conditions (dry, wet…), weather (clear, rainy…), light conditions
- Parties involved: road user group, age, gender, nationality, breathalyser test result, use of intoxicants, driving licence details, personal identification details.

The data cover all fatal accidents and the vast majority of accidents involving personal injury. The annual publication includes all accidents. The data on individual units are confidential.

Statistical presentation

The statistics on road traffic accidents contain diverse data on road traffic accidents involving personal injury and on parties involved in them since 1931.

The data are published as preliminary every month and as final annually. The data are used to monitor the road safety situation both nationally and internationally. The data are based on road traffic accidents known to the police.

Statistical population

An event resulting in personal or property damage that has occurred in an area intended for public transport according to the Road Traffic Act or used generally for traffic and involving at least one moving vehicle is considered a road traffic accident. In addition to vehicles defined in the Road Traffic Act, trams and trains in level crossing accidents are also counted as vehicles. A pedestrian falling is not a traffic accident, falling on a bicycle (= a vehicle) is.

Statistical unit

Units of the statistics on road traffic accidents: Accidents, Deaths, Injured (incl. seriously injured), Seriously injured, Accidents known to the police, Fatal accidents known to the police, Accidents known to the police involving injuries, Accidents known to the police involving serious injuries

Unit of measure

Units of the statistics on road traffic accidents: Accidents, Deaths, Injured (incl. seriously injured), Seriously injured, Accidents known to the police, Fatal accidents known to the police, Accidents known to the police involving injuries, Accidents known to the police involving serious injuries

Reference period

The reference period of statistics is a calendar year and month.

Reference area

The statistics on road traffic accidents cover regionally the whole of Finland. The regional classification is by the most recent published year.

Sector coverage

The statistics on road traffic accidents cover accidents recorded in the information system of the police.

Time coverage

Data from 1931 onwards. The data are published as preliminary every month and as final annually.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics on road traffic accidents are published once a month as preliminary data and once a year as a final version.

Concepts

Alcohol-related case

An accident in which the driver of the vehicle of some party or a pedestrian has been proven (by a blood test reading of at least 0.5 per mille or a breathalyser test result of exhalation containing at least 0.22 milligrams of alcohol per one litre of air) or is suspected on strong grounds to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Coach

A vehicle manufactured for the transportation of people. Space for 8 or more persons in addition to the driver.

Drink-driving case

An accident in which the driver of a motor vehicle has been proven (by a blood test reading of at least 0.5 per mille or a breathalyser test result of exhalation containing at least 0.22 milligrams of alcohol per one litre of air) or is suspected on strong grounds to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Fatal accident

An accident in which a person involved has died within 30 days from the accident as a consequence of the accident, excluding deaths from acute fits of illness.

Passenger car

Road motor vehicle, other than a moped or a motor cycle,
intended for the carriage of passengers and designed to seat no more than nine persons (including the driver).

Pedestrian

A person travelling on foot, roller skates, skateboard, skis, kick-sledge or similar.

Person injured in an accident

A person who has not died in an accident (or within 30 days of it), but has sustained in the accident injuries which require medical care or observation in hospital, treatment at home (sick leave) or surgical treatment, such as stitches. If a person has sustained bruises, scratches or the like that do not require aforementioned treatment, he/she is not regarded as injured.

Person involved in an accident

Persons involved in an accident refer to the drivers of vehicles and pedestrians involved in an accident, and passengers killed or injured in the accident. An animal is party to an accident involving animals.

Person killed in an accident

A person who has died as a consequence of an accident within 30 days from the accidents, excluding deaths from acute fits of illness.

Road traffic accident

An event having lead to personal injury or damage to property that has taken place in an area intended for public transport or generally used for transport and in which at least one of the involved parties has been a moving vehicle. In addition to the vehicles specified in the Road Traffic Act, such party can also be a tram and in level crossing accidents a train. The falling down of a pedestrian is not a traffic accident, but that of a rider of a bicycle (= vehicle) is.

Seriously injured in road accident

A person who has not died in an accident (or within 30 days of it), but has sustained in the accident injuries which require medical care or observation in a care institution, and who has visited a doctor within six days of the accident, and the injuries are classified as serious in accordance with the AIS Abbreviated Injury Scale (AAAM, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine).

Tractor

A vehicle specifically designed for agricultural and forestry work to run implements of haul trailers coupled to it. Special forestry machines such as logging tractors or forwarders, or forestry machines built on earthmoving machines are not classified as tractors but as motorised work machines.

Trailer

A trailer of a motor vehicle is a hauled vehicle constructed for the transportation of goods or for tourism purposes.

Classifications

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The published data can be regarded as relatively reliable. The statistics cover fatal accidents to nearly one hundred per cent. The coverage is controlled by means of cause of death certificates.

The coverage of persons injured in road traffic accidents is around 30 per cent. There are differences in the data on different types of accidents. The coverage is poorest for cyclists injured in individual accidents. The shortfalls are due to the fact that all accidents are not reported to the police. The majority of the missing accidents resulting in injuries are only minor injuries, because the Road Traffic Act obliges to report accidents to the police only if someone has been seriously injured.

Timeliness

Data on road traffic accidents are released as preliminary monthly data, approximately three weeks from the end of the month. The final data is published annually in January, approximately 12 months after the end of the statistical year.

Punctuality

The data are published on the day indicated in the release calendar.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The data are geographically comparable.

Comparability - over time

Between 1931 and 1940 the statistics included only accidents involving a motor-driven vehicle. A considerable change in the statistics took place in 1978 when injuries no longer included bruises, scratches and similar, not leading to need of treatment. The change in the definition reduced the number of injured persons by nearly 30 per cent.

The Police started using the new information system in 1995. The transfer to it has caused problems in comparing the accident and injury figures. The change in the data collection did not affect comparability in cases of deaths, which are still checked in the statistics on causes of death as well.

In 2003, Statistics Finland introduced a new information system for the processing of road traffic accident data. The modernised information system enabled more thorough processing of accident data and easier utilisation of other data. The introduction of more accurate statistical bases has raised the numbers of injured by around eight per cent. The revision had not an effect on the numbers of deaths.

Since the beginning of 2007, data on road traffic accidents have been supplemented monthly with data obtained from the preliminary data sheets filled in by the police members of the Road Accident Investigation Teams. This improves the preliminary data especially in the recording of alcohol cases.

Accidents in which a vehicle has crashed onto an oncoming vehicle as a result of swerving have been classified as head-on collisions instead of swerving accidents from 2014 onwards. The data on type of accident are not fully comparable with previous years.

For the year 2014, we adopted the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)'s care registers for specialised health care and basic outpatient health care and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine's conversion table licensed to the EU countries. By using it the diagnoses set in health care can be converted into AIS values (Abbreviated Injury Scale) used in the classification of seriousness of road traffic accidents. By combining the care register and accident data, data are produced on the number of seriously injured persons on the annual level.

Comparability of deaths remains valid until the beginning of the time series.
The latest change for injured persons has taken place in 2014.

Coherence - cross domain

According to international recommendations, a person who has died as a result of an accident within 30 days of the accident, excluding those dying of seizures, is defined as a person killed in a road traffic accident. Statistics Finland does not remove suicides in road traffic from the statistics on road traffic accidents. Some countries use a time limit that differs from the 30-day limit for determining road traffic fatalities. The coverage of fatal accidents is not one hundred per cent in all countries.

The number of road traffic fatalities in the cause of death statistics is slightly higher than the figures in the statistics on road traffic accidents due to different definitions: for example, deaths after 30 days are included in the cause of death statistics.

In addition to the statistics on road traffic accidents compiled by Statistics Finland, another set of statistics is published in Finland based on different principles. The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) compiles its own statistics on accidents indemnified from the motor liability insurance. The data are mainly based on data provided by policyholders. As far as property damage is concerned, it is justified to use the OTI statistics, since they include a large proportion of the minor car accidents reported by the parties to the insurance company but not to the police.

The Road Accident Investigation Teams investigate all fatal traffic accidents in Finland. The results of the Road Accident Investigation Teams are gathered into annually published reports. In addition, separate studies are made on the data of the Teams.

Traffic accident cases are also recorded by hospitals and health care centres, but the collected data are mainly intended for health care and cannot be used properly in traffic safety work. Health care data can be used as supplementary data because data not included in other statistics are available from them, such as persons injured in pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

A comparison of the differences between the two sets of statistics has been made in the report “Statistics on road traffic accidents in Finland”:
https://www.traficom.fi/sites/default/files/media/publication/Tieliikenneonnettomuuksien%20tilastointi%20Suomessa_10022020_Turvallinen%20liikenne%202025_Traficom_2_2020.pdf

Coherence - sub-annual and annual statistics

Preliminary annual data can be calculated from the monthly preliminary data of the statistics on road traffic accidents. However, data on seriously injured persons have been combined only with final annual data.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics on road traffic accidents are a total survey. Statistics Finland receives road traffic accident data from the police recorded in the police information system (PATJA).

Statistics Finland supplements its annual data with data from statistics on causes of death. The data are also supplemented with information on accident locations from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency's Digiroad information system, data from the Rescue Services' PRONTO statistics on resources and accidents, data on coercive measure from justice statistics, and with data on fatal drunk driving accidents from the Road Accident Investigation Teams. The data on road traffic accidents are also supplemented annually by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom's data on driving licences and motor vehicles. Information on the seriousness of injuries is derived from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)’s care registers for specialised health care and basic outpatient health care and the conversion table licensed to the EU Member States by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

Data collection

The data sources are road traffic accidents involving personal injury entered into the information system of the police and reported by the police to Statistics Finland. The data on accidents are recorded into the police information system from where they are transferred to Statistics Finland three times per month. The data from the police are supplemented with data from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and from Statistics Finland’s statistics on causes of death.

Frequency of data collection

Data from police departments are transferred to a centralised register from which new data are edited and transferred to Statistics Finland three times a month. The data for each month are updated three months after its ending.

Cost and burden

The obligation to provide data related to the compilation of the statistics is based on the Statistics Act and its Section 14 (https://www.stat.fi/meta/lait/statistics-act-2802004_en.html). According to the Act: “Notwithstanding the provisions on secrecy, state authorities shall be obliged to provide Statistics Finland with such data in their possession that are necessary for the production of statistics, as well as with data on their own activities, finances, duties, staff and other resources required in their activities.”

Methods

Data validation

It is checked that the values of the variables in the database are logically possible. Revision runs are made at different stages of the process and the data are corrected based on them.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States. 

Further information: Statistical legislation 

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

Confidentiality - data treatment

Both the tables and figures of publications and their database tables have been compiled so that sensitive data, such as on the numbers of persons under alcohol or other intoxicants, are not published on the level of municipalities but on the level of the whole country. When releasing tables, it is made sure that no individual person is identified from the data of the table. The data of the tables are made less detailed by classifying variables, such as age data, in tables that do not cover the whole country. No individual person can be identified from the tables even if there is only one observation in some cell.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland 

Data sharing

Statistics Finland also maintains the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency's data on road traffic accidents. At the request of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, Statistics Finland releases data only to those parties for whom the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency grants a user licence and for whom the police have granted a permission to release the data in Statistics Finland's data permission.

The statistics on road traffic accidents serve the monitoring of the traffic safety situation nationally and internationally. The data of the statistics are used as bases for traffic safety measures and traffic planning, for example. On the national level, the users are ministries, central agencies and transport sector organisations, on the local level mainly municipalities. Internationally, the data are delivered to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the OECD’s International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) and the European Union’s database on road accidents CARE, which is based on a Council Decision (93/704/EC).

Other

Database tables on road traffic accidents are published in a separate service financed by Statistics Finland, Finnish Road Safety Council, National Police Board of Finland, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. In addition, database tables are published in the Astika service. In 2014, geographic information on road traffic accidents was released for open use through interface services.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published. 

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish. 

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Micro-data access

The release of unit-level data on road traffic accidents for research use is decided by Statistics Finland's research services and, if necessary, by the Head of the Department. Each release of data is considered case-specifically.

Statistics Finland also maintains the Finnish Transport Agency's data on road traffic accidents. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency decides and is responsible for the releasing of its own data. Statistics Finland also provides information services in the name of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency on behalf of that agency. At the request of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, Statistics Finland releases data only to those parties for whom the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency grants a user licence and for whom the police have granted a permission to release the data.

The Director General of Statistics Finland decides on all releases of data abroad.

Information services based on the statistics on road traffic accidents follow the principles of this document. However, it must be taken into account when preparing information service assignments that assignments are case-specific.

Quality assessment

The statistics were audited in autumn 2017.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Mervi Härkönen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3254