Is road safety being driven in the wrong direction?

Davies, GR; Roberts, I; (2014) Is road safety being driven in the wrong direction? International journal of epidemiology, 43 (5). pp. 1615-23. ISSN 0300-5771 DOI:

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BACKGROUND: Road traffic crashes are a major cause of death and injury worldwide and are set to increase as low- and middle-income countries motorize. United Nations (UN)and World Health Organization (WHO) road traffic injury prevention efforts depend on support from external organizations, many of which have commercial interests in increasing car use. Because of concerns about conflict of interest, this study objectively assessed the activities of a key WHO collaborator, the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP).<br/> METHODS: We conducted a quantitative content analysis comparing GRSP publications and the 2004 WHO World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. Dictionaries of terms were constructed for each of the evidence-based interventions detailed in the World REPORT. Text analysis software was used to generate word frequency counts of those terms to compare the World Report and GRSP documents.<br/> RESULTS: Education, information and publicity featured far more commonly in the GRSP publications than in the WHO World Report [word frequency ratios and 95% confidence intervals: GRSP Newsletter 3.09, 2.53 to 3.78; Around GRSPs World 4.69, 3.76 to 5.87;GRSP Project summaries 3.42, 2.59 to 4.51] On the other hand, compared with the World Report, reducing car use [GRSP Newsletter 0.36, 0.27 to 0.48], minimizing exposure to high-risk scenarios [GRSP Newsletter 0.04, 0.02 to 0.09] and encouraging the use of safer modes of travel [GRSP Newsletter 0.02, 0.01 to 0.08] rarely featured in GRSP publications.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: The GRSP focuses on educational interventions, for which there is no evidence of effectiveness. Furthermore, the GRSP does not appear to consider the full range of WHO interventions. As motorization growth has serious negative implications for health, including those associated from physical inactivity, climate change and air and noise pollution, it is imperative that the UN and WHO do not allow business interests to dominate public health interests.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
PubMed ID: 24808047
Web of Science ID: 343972200035


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