India currently has the dubious distinction of experiencing the highest number of road traffic accidents in the world.
We believe that this study on road traffic accidents may help to identify factors in the pre-hospital setting that may influence mortality rates.
Patients and Methods:
A prospective observational study was carried out in a metro area in India over a period of one year. The study included consecutive patients admitted to the trauma service after road traffic accidents. Demographic information, time and place of accident, and details regarding the vehicle and the events leading up to the hospital admission were recorded. Injury severity, management in the hospital, and final outcomes in terms of mortality were noted. The data were analyzed with SPSS software.
A total of 773 patients were enrolled. Of these, there were 197 deaths and 576 survivors. The majority of patients were aged 15 - 40 years (67%) and were male (87.84%). More accidents occurred at night (58.2%) than during the day (41.8%). Mortality was not significantly associated with age, sex, or time of accident. City roads (38.9%) saw more accidents than highways (26.13%), but highway accidents were more likely to be fatal. Two-wheeler riders (37.65%) and pedestrians (35.75%) formed the majority of our study population. Mortality was significantly associated with crossing the road on foot (P = 0.004). Pillion riders on two-wheeler vehicles were more likely to experience poor outcomes (relative risk [RR] = 1.9, P = 0.001). Front-seat occupants in four-wheeler vehicles were at an increased risk of not surviving the accident (61.98%; RR=2.56, P = 0.01). Lack of safety gear, such as helmets, seat belts, and airbags, was significantly associated with mortality (P = 0.05). Delays in transfers of patients to the hospital and a lack of pre-hospital emergency services was significantly associated with increased mortality (P = 0.000).
A lack of respect for the law, weak legislation and law enforcement, disregard for personal safety, and driving vehicles under adverse conditions are some of the leading causes of road traffic accidents. There should be an emphasis on emergency trauma care in the pre-hospital setting.