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Swedish court: motorcyclists have a right to access accident data

Following a decision in February, the Swedish Motorcyclist’s Association SMC, and many other organizations and companies working with road safety, were shut down from direct access to accident statistics in Strada (Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition).

This had major consequences because SMC uses the statistics daily in road safety work. SMC appealed against the decision from the Swedish Transport Agency’ and the Administrative Court has now granted SMC partial right. What circumstances and similar that led to the accident will no longer be classified. SMC hopes that this will lead to the authority being commissioned to review the possibility of sharing more accident data on traffic accidents directly with road safety organizations such as SMC.

Strada (Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition) is a database which contains all road traffic accidents reported by police and emergency units in hospitals. In the past, SMC and hundreds of other users in organizations and companies have had a direct access to all information. The exclusion from the Swedish Transport Agency means that SMC must request information via a person who shares a small part of the information. When SMC requested and got information for accidents in 2019, SMC realized that all kind of events and circumstances that led to the accident had been removed. The reason for this according to the Swedish Transport Agency is that the information could be painful for individuals and/or their relatives.

SMC appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the information requested by SMC is only informative and investigative at a systematic level, not at an individual level. The fact that SMC no longer can get knowledge about why motorcycle accidents happen means that they must close down parts of their business. SMC will no longer know why some roads have many accidents, why there are inexplicably many accidents in a crossing or roundabout and why fatal accidents happen time after time at the same place. SMC also cited a similar case from the Supreme Administrative Court, where the circumstances were similar.

The court agreed with SMC and referred to SMC’s arguments above in their judgement. The decision means that SMC can share information with our 21 districts about where accidents occur and what caused the accident. Several members of the Swedish parliament have become involved in the issue after contact with the SMC. The issue was debated in the Parliament with the Minister of Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth. SMC have notified them of the decision and asked for cooperation in the future until the ongoing process in changing access to Strada is finished.

Written by Maria Nordqvist (SMC)

Photograph by Joachim Sjöström