Road traffic injuries cause most premature deaths among men in India: Study
NEWDELHI:INDIA is losing more young men to road traffic injuries, shows a new study published in The Lancet Public Health on Monday.
In the 15-39 years age group, road injury killed 14.4% (31, 518) men and 3.4% (7441) women in 2017. With 2.2 lakh total road injury deaths in India in that year, it was the leading cause of premature death among young males and the second leading cause for males and females combined, according to the India Statelevel Disease Burden Initiative report.
“Young productive age group of India is losing its life in road traffic crashes. More young men are dying as a major chunk of deaths happen among motorcyclists. In fact, motorcyclists and pedestrians together accounted for more than half of all road injury deaths in 2017,” said Rakhi Dandona, Public Health Foundation of India, who is the lead author of the study.
The experts have replaced the term road traffic accidents with road traffic injury to highlight the fact that these deaths can be preventable.
“No one uses the term accidents any more as these deaths are largely preventable, and that sense gets lost when the term accident is used. Experts have begun using road traffic injury or crash to underline the seriousness of the issue,” said Dandona.
The study compared available data on road traffic injuries from 1990 to 2017, and found an increase of 58.7% in the number of total deaths. The increase was higher than the global increase of 8%, from 1.15 million deaths in 1990 to 1.24 million deaths in 2017.
Also, the proportion of deaths due to road injuries among all deaths in India increased from 1.7% in 1990 to 2.2%. “It’s a modern day epidemic. Not taking adequate precaution and also not being able to receive treatment within the crucial first hour of injury all contribute to death in India,” said Dr Bipin Walia, senior director and head, neurosurgery department, Max Healthcare.
The figures suggest that if road traffic crashes continued to kill at the same rate, attaining UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) target of halving the number of deaths due to road traffic injuries from 2015 to 2020 will be hard to achieve. “It’s unlikely that India will be able to reduce the deaths as per the SDG target by 2020, which is next month. Unless the death rate goes down it is not possible to bring down the overall numbers. The solution lies in adopting a systems approach in terms of prevention, during the crash and post crash,” said Dandona.