ROAD SAFETY AN IMPORTANT CAUSE OF DISABILITY
Drop in highway deaths due to more safety belt use and fewer drunk drivers
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced August 2004 that the fatality rate on the nation's highways in 2003 was the lowest in 29 years, with a total of 42,643 deaths and 2.89 million injuries in 2003. In 2002, 43,005 people were killed on the highways and 2.93 million were injured. Alcohol-related deaths dropped for the first time since 1999, in part due to the adoption of an .08 blood alcohol content level by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. However, motorcycle fatalities increased 12 percent, to 3,661, and fatalities in large truck crashes increased slightly to 4,749. Also, 56 percent of those killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing safety belts. For more information:
Road Safety Statistics 2004
The United States Bone and Joint Decade Board issued a resolution April 2004 calling on the U.S. Federal and state governments to take a number of actions to reduce the prevalence and cost of road traffic injuries. They are also calling on organizations participating in the Decade to do their part to spread awareness about the burden of road injuries and preventative measures, and to look into ways to contribute to reducing the burden.
The World Health Organization made 'Road Safety' the theme for World Health Day, April 7, 2004. On April 7 the WHO issued a World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention to serve as a "call to action" to stimulate road safety commitment worldwide. The United Nations addressed Road Safety at the meeting of its General Assembly on April 14, and hosted a special stakeholders' meeting on April 15.
The Bone and Joint Decade, working collectively with several international organizations, assisted Fuad Al-Hinai, Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations from the Sultanate of Oman in putting Road Traffic Injury Prevention on the Agenda of the United Nations General Assembly. The Decade is now asking all National Action Networks to implement World Health Day activities, to undertake ongoing activities to disseminate information on issues causing road injuries, to identify and work with other groups to identify specific causes of road injury as well as to encourage discussion on prevention activities.
Road injury relates directly to major limb trauma, one of five focal conditions that represent 80% of the burden of all musculoskeletal disease as identified by the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD.) Two other focal conditions are closely associated with road safety: back pain, and childhood musculoskeletal conditions.
Road traffic injuries pose a global public health crisis. Each year, road traffic injuries kill more than a million men, women and children around the world. Tens of millions more are injured, some of whom become permanently disabled. In the United States, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for persons 1 to 34 years of age, and they represent the greatest health threat to American citizens traveling or living abroad. Each year, more than 40,000 U.S. citizens are killed in motor vehicle crashes, with more than 4 million more suffering injuries severe enough to require treatment in an emergency department. Some other facts:
· 50% of road traffic fatalities worldwide involve young adults aged 15-44 years corresponding to the most economically productive segment of population
· Over 70% - nearly 850,000 persons - killed in road traffic injuries in 1998 were under 45 years of age
· For every death there are approximately 25 serious injuries
· Permanent disabilities are 4 times fatalities, hospitalization 10 times, and emergency room care 30 times
· Economic costs in the USA are 5% of GDP
· Traffic injuries are expected to have moved from 9th to 3rd place on the list of the fifteen disorders causing the most death and disability worldwide by 2020.
Preventable Key factors responsible for road traffic injuries
· Driving under the influence of alcohol
· Under-utilization of seat belts and child restraints
· Poor road design and roadway environment
· Unsafe vehicle design
· Under-implementation of road safety standards
The Decade invites all Decade Participating Organizations to support this effort, by:
· Raising awareness of the burden
· Identifying issues within your field of expertise that directly relate to cause and effect
· Addressing those issues and developing preventative solutions
· Working with other groups addressing related issues
CDC's Injury Center developed an information kit, Family Road Safety: Protect the Ones You Love for World Health Day 2004. The materials contained in the kit are designed to draw attention to road traffic-related injury, disability, and death and promote safe travel in local communities. To view the kit visit www.cdc.gov/injury. To request a printed copy email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide mailing address.
The Family Road Safety: Protect the Ones You Love information kit includes:
· a fact sheet on road traffic injuries and deaths in the United States
· a sample mayoral proclamation for World Health Day 2004
· a sample press release for local newspapers to recognize World Health Day 2004
· a sample newsletter article on World Health Day 2004 for use by local government agencies, civic and education organizations, and businesses
· a brochure describing possible community activities to recognize World Health Day 2004
· a list of resources for additional information and potential partners in communities
· a flyer to request a CD-ROM of royalty-free images that model proper injury prevention techniques. Images show children properly restrained in the back seat, drivers, and passengers wearing safety belts, and others.
Resources (see Links)
The Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) is a multi-center research program involving a collaboration of clinicians and engineers in academia, industry, and government. Together, they are pursuing in-depth studies of crashes, injuries, and treatments to improve processes and outcomes. CIREN's mission is to improve the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of motor vehicle crash injuries to reduce deaths, disabilities, and human and economic costs.