Road traf­fic in­juries cause most pre­ma­ture deaths among men in In­dia: Study

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - Nation - Rhythma Kaul let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ n

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.

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