Five Year Road Traffic Accident Trends in Venjarammoodu Police Station Limits of South Kerala

Nazeema Beevia, L Manjub, Regi Josea, S Anil Bindua, Jeesha C Harana

a. Department of Community Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India; b. Department of Biostatistics, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India*

Corresponding Author: Regi Jose, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India. Phone: +91-9446475035, Email: regipaul@gmail.com

Abstract

Road traffic accidents (RTAs) involve high human suffering and socioeconomic costs in terms of premature deaths, injuries and loss of productivity. The objective of this study was to find out the frequency, age group of drivers, type of vehicle involved, time of maximum occurrence and reasons of RTAs over a 5 year period (2008-2012) in the jurisdiction of Venjaramood Janamithri police station in Trivandrum district of south Kerala. A descriptive study was carried out using data from 760 cases of RTAs that occurred during the period in the area. Results showed that the number of accidents had increased from 124 in 2008 to 155 in 2012, whereas serious injuries and case fatality rate showed a varying trend. Serious injuries increased from 86% in 2008 to 88% in 2009, reduced to 81% in 2011 and again increased to 85% in 2012. Case fatality decreased from 13% in 2008 to 9% in 2010, then increased to 14% in 2011 and reduced to 11% in 2012. The majority of accident happened during peak hours, that is between 12 and 18 h and most victims were between 25 and 40 years of age. The most common cause of the accident was rash driving and increased traffic congestion. The majority of accidents occurred in the blind curves.

Key words: Road Traffic Accidents, Road Traffic Injuries, Kerala

 

Introduction

Road traffic accident (RTA) can be defined as, “an event that occurs on a way or street open to public traffic; resulting in one or more persons being injured or killed, where at least one moving vehicle is involved.” Thus, RTA is a collision between vehicles; between vehicles and pedestrians; between vehicles and animals; or between vehicles and geographical or architectural obstacles.1 WHO global status report on road safety 2013 indicate that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remain unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year. Only 28 countries covering 7% of the world’s population have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors such as drinking and driving, speeding, failing to use helmets, seat belts, and child restraints.2

Report of accidents in India, 2012 published by NCRB shows that out of accidental death 35.2% are due to RTAs. During 2008, road traffic injuries (RTI) ranked fourth among the leading causes of death in the world. Nearly 1.3 million people die every year on the world’s roads, and 20-50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many sustaining a disability as a result of their injury.3 RTIs are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years and cost countries 1-3% of the gross domestic product.4,5 In India, the motor vehicle population is growing at a faster rate than the economic and population growth. The surge in motorization coupled with the expansion of the road network has brought with it the challenge of addressing adverse factors such as the increase in road accidents.3 Road accident cases in the country have marginally decreased by 0.02% during 2012 while the casualties in road accidents in the country have increased by 1.3% during 2012 as compared to 2012. The major human factors that contribute to the potency of road accident causation include drunken drivers, indecisiveness, fatigue, distraction, and confusion. Also in many cases, the drivers are found to be inexperienced risk takers, impulsive, aggressive, casual and unaware of road signals.

 

Materials and Methods

A descriptive study was conducted by collecting data from first information reports of RTAs obtained from Venjaramood Janamithri police station during the period 2008-2012. The information collected consists of number of accidents, number of death due to accident, age of the driver, time of accident, area, involvement of vehicle or pedestrian and cause of the accident. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software. Interpretation of the collected data was done by using percentage and proportions.

 

Results

A total of 760 RTA cases were reported during the study period. The majority (43.7%) of the drivers were in the age group of 25-40 years (Table 1).

Table 1. Distribution of accidents according to the age of driver

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Time of Accident

The maximum number of accidents (292-38.43%) occurred between 12 and 18 h, followed by 239 (31.45%) between 6 and 12 h (Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of accidents according to time of occurrence

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Type of Accident

In this study, the type of accidents was divided into four categories as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Distribution according to the type of accident

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Type of Vehicle

Vehicles involved in accidents were classified as heavy motor vehicle (HMV) (Bus, Lorry, JCB, Tempo traveller, Mini bus, etc.), light motor vehicle (LMV) (Car, Jeep, Pick up van, Auto rickshaw etc.) and two wheelers (includes motorbike, scooter, and bicycle). 53% of accidents involved were LMV, followed by two wheelers i.e.28% and the rest were due to HMV (Table 4).

Table 4. Distribution according to type of vehicle

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Type of Road

Various geographic factors like the width of the road, alignment of the road and number of side roads present plays an important role in the causation of road accidents. As the degree of curvature of roads increase, the visual distance reduces. When the number of side roads increases, accident rates also increase. Inadequate width of footpath, especially in places with narrow roads like the Venjaramood junction prove to be alarmingly prone to pedestrian accidents. 52.3% of accidents occurred at junctions (Table 5).

Table 5. Distribution according to the type of road

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Cause of Accident

About 89.5% of the road accidents were caused due rash driving. Apart from this, poorly maintained roads and vehicles, unscientific construction of roads, mechanical failure, and pedestrian faults account for 10.5% of cases. Rash/reckless driving is defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a disregard for the road traffic rules, where the driver often misjudges common driving procedures causing accidents and damages to himself as well as others.

Trends of Accidents, Injuries and Death from 2008 to 2012

Table 6 and Figure 1 show various trends in RTAs during the period.

Table 6. Number of road accidents, persons injured and persons killed during 2008-2012

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Figure 1. Trends in road traffic accidents

 

Discussion

Report of accidents in India 2012 published by NCRB shows that out of accidental deaths 35.2% are due to RTAs. The maximum number of death occurs in the age group of 15-44 years.

In this study also the majority of drivers involved in accidents comes under the age group of 18-45 years. The incidence of accidental death in Kerala during 2012 is 4286.5 Prevalence of RTAs is increasing year by year. In Kerala, traffic accidents are a major cause of death and injuries. This study shows that traffic accidents are increasing. Statistics of road accidents in Kerala6 shows that trend of road accidents from 2001 to 2013, there is a decrease in the number of accidents from 2009 to 2013. In this study also there is a slight reduction in 2009 and 2010. The trend of death in road accidents from 2001 to 2013 shows a decline in 2009 and 2010. The report of Road accidents in India, 2012 shows that during the last 5 years accidental death decreased marginally from 1.3 in 2008 to 1 in 2012 even as the number of vehicles is increased by 58.3% and the quantum of road accidents has increased by 5.8% during the same period. While considering the death by various mode of transport, two wheelers account for 19.2%, cars 10.1%, buses account for 9.4%. In this study LMV accident is more. Regarding the different causes from January 01, 2013 to December 31, 2013, rash driving is found to be the major cause.7 In this study also rash driving resulted in 89.5% of traffic accidents. Problem of drinking and drug taking is universal. Alcohol is the direct cause of 30-50% of severe RTAs and road traffic fatalities.6 However, in our study this data are not available. Type of accident involved in an accident in this study is a vehicle to vehicle this is comparable with the statistics given by Kerala police.7 Regarding the time of occurrence of accidents maximum number of accidents occurred from 6 to 18 h. This is consistent with the statistics given by Kerala police where maximum number of accidents occurred between 6 and 22 h.

 

Conclusion

The present study revealed that the number of accidents has increased from 144 in the year 2008 to 183 in 2012. There is a slight decrease in 2010, this is comparable with various studies on RTAs which indicates that number of accidents per 1000 vehicles is decreasing.3,4 One limitation of this study is that we could not obtain the data regarding the total number of vehicles plying through this area. There is a decrease in the trend of percentage of deaths due to accidents from 2008 to 2010 (i.e., from 13% to 9%), in 2011 it increased to 14% and reduced to 11% in 2012. Drivers in the age group of 25-40 years are causing maximum number of accidents which is comparable with the latest statistics.2 The maximum number of accidents occurred during office times, that is 6-18 h. Type of accident indicates that vehicle to vehicle is maximum (47%), next comes to vehicle-pedestrian (40%). Regarding the type of vehicle maximum accidents occurred by LMVs. LMVs are involved in 53% of the accidents. Road pattern data show that maximum number of accidents occurred at junctions (52.3%). Fault of the driver, i.e., mostly rash driving accounts for 89.5% of the road accidents.

Recommendations

The study highlighted the interaction of various factors involved in the occurrence of RTAs especially the low awareness of safety measures, lack of experience of drivers, narrow and broken roads with poor lighting especially at crossings and speed breakers, overloaded vehicles and high speed. High incidence of RTAs highlights the need for stricter laws and better enforcement of laws. Despite many advances in highway design, traffic engineering, automobile manufacturing and police enforcement and other technologies, many countries around the world still suffer from an ever increasing problem of road accidents. In addition to the disability and loss of life, road accident also leads to huge economic loss.

A better understanding of why and how accidents occur, through investigation of the share of each contributing factor toward it and effective implementation of proper road safety measures is required for mitigation of this problem.

 

End Note

Author Information

  1. Nazeema Beevi, Assistant Professor, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

  2. L Manju, Assistant Professor, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Kerala, India

  3. Regi Jose, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

  4. S Anil Bindu, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

  5. Jeesha C Haran, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

 

References

1. National Statistics of Road Traffic Accidents in IndiaAvailable from: http://www.jotr.in/textasp 2013/6/1/1/118718.

2. Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013Available from: http://www.who.int/violence injuries.

3. WHO. WHO Estimates of Monthly by Causes for WHO Member States for the Year 2008 Summary Tables2011; Geneva: WHO

4. World Health Organisation. Road Traffic Injuries Fact Sheet N0. 3582013; MarchLast accessed on 2013 Jul d15Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs358/en/.

5. Accidental death &suicides in India. National crimes records bureau, Ministry of Home affairsGovt of India 2012; Available from: http://www.ncrb.gov.in.

6. Epidemiology of road traffic accidents accidents in India: A review of literatureAvailable from: http://www.sett.org/road-traffic-accidets.htm.

7. Road traffic accidents in Kerala. Kerala police official website IAvailable from: http://www.kerala police org.

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