Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) cause important health, social and economic impact on the victims and families especially to low-income families as they result in a lot of physical incapabilities, body pains, stress, and other psychological trauma. This was one of the main findings of a study on Health and Socio-economic impact of road traffic injuries in the island of Mauritius in 2017, released yesterday, at a half-day seminar at the seat of the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, in Ebène.
The study was carried out by the Mauritius Institute of Health under the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council's Unsolicited Research and Innovation Grant Scheme. Figures also indicate that, 94.7% of the victims are reported with incapacities while 43.2% could not resume normal previous activities and 73.5% stopped working or studying.
The objectives of the study were to: determine the magnitude and characteristics of RTI problems and to examine health effects on the victims as well as their families; explore socioeconomic consequences on Roads Traffic Injuries (RTIs) victims and their surroundings; and, identify factors that may be associated with traffic injuries, that is, socio-economic status, education level and category of road users.
RTA has increased considerably from 21 195 in 2012 to 29 627 in 2017, according to the findings of study. It is noted that one of every four road accidents victims suffered from head injury and four out of five affected persons had one or more fractures. Also, most accidents (60%) and persons involved in RTI (64%) are from rural regions. The majority of RTI victims are mainly males aged between 21 and 60 years with sustained head injuries and fractures. These RTA have been attributed to speeding in rural areas, non-adherence to precautionary measures such as non-wearing of seatbelts by front passengers and not-wearing of helmets by riders and pillion riders.
The main recommendations of the study are: adoption of a holistic approach from various Ministries and non-governmental organisations; laying more emphasis on road safety education at primary and secondary schools; providing regular training to teachers; improving road infrastructures in accident prone areas by setting up slow signs, speed breakers, traffic lights and adequate footpaths; and strengthening police control and road safety regulations.
Other recommendations include: extending road fitness tests to all types of vehicles, considering the exemption of tax on road safety and protective equipment and improvement of existing health system to better respond to RTI cases.