Researchers find link between traffic offences and severe road trauma

April 23, 2015

Crashed carResearchers from Royal Perth Hospital have completed one of the first studies to look at traffic offences as a risk factor for severe road trauma.

The comprehensive study looked at more than 10,000 RPH trauma patients over 10 years and found 60 per cent had prior traffic offences.

Led by Dr Kwok Ho, who is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Murdoch University, the study also found:

  • The more demerit points, the higher the risk of subsequent trauma;
  • Drink-driving, no seat belt and the use of handheld electronic devices were the main offences that led patients to suffer a severe trauma;
  • Three drink-driving offences led to an 80 per cent risk of severe injury requiring intensive care admission.

Dr Ho and his team also found that patients who recovered from severe injury requiring ICU admission appeared to reduce their subsequent traffic offences, but those who reoffended were more likely to be readmitted again due to road trauma.

“It appears that many road trauma injuries did not occur merely by chance; instead what we observed was a pattern of risk taking behaviours and the associated consequences,” said Dr Ho.

“Young male drivers again appear to be those who are most difficult to change. Perhaps, intensive education interventions need to be targeted to those who are particularly at risk of having traffic offences leading to further road trauma.”

The researchers also found that the median time between the last traffic offence and road trauma admission was relatively long at 11 months.

“This provides a window of opportunity to intervene and reduce their risk of severe road trauma,” said Dr Ho.

“This window should be used to trial and evaluate injury prevention education programs, health promotion programs, the effectiveness of suspending drivers’ licences at a lower level of cumulative demerit points, criminalising traffic offences or other innovative interventions.”

The study was funded by the Medical Research Foundation of RPH and the Department of Transport provided the data.

The paper was published in international journal PLOS one and is available online here.

Dr Ho has established research collaborations with staff in the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University. He is currently investigating a novel therapy to reduce acute kidney injury in dogs suffering haemorrhagic shock.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!