Risk Factors For Motor Vehicle Accidents

2454 words - 10 pages

A motor vehicle accident (MVA) is any crash occurring on a road between one or more motor vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, scooters, trucks, buses, or pedestrians on public roads (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1998). Motor vehicle accidents are a major health issue in Australia, being one of the leading causes of fatality and injury (Donovan, Fielder, Ouschan, & Ewing, 2011). While the number of accidents has significantly decreased over the years, MVAs are still a major issue in today’s society (Ramage-Morin, 2008). Mortality and injury rates of MVAs are dependent on geographic region, with different states having varying rates of MVAs. Additionally, MVAs impact majorly on the individual, with a high percentage developing Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following the accident (Harvey, 1998). They also impact the economy and therefore society, with the cost of MVAs being approximately seventeen billion dollars annually in 2003 (Connelly & Supangan, 2006). Risk factors of MVAs are determined by the driver’s behaviour, such as speed and alcohol/drugs. Social factors are also a contributor, including age and gender. The final contributing risk factors are environmental, which include time and place. Age is one of the main leading risk factors to MVAs, which has had strategies implemented to control this and decrease the risk of accidents associated with age.
Firstly, the magnitude of MVAs in Australia has been considerably reduced, with the number of accidents falling year by year. However, this does not make this issue insignificant, as it is still a major problem. They are the second leading cause of fatality due to external damage (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1998). From the period of 1924-1970, rates of MVAS climbed from 15 deaths per 100,000, to 67 deaths per 100,000. Since then, the rates have fallen to 20 deaths per 100,000 in 2000, which is possibly due to successful road safety campaigns in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2000). Nevertheless, rates still need to be further decreased to ensure the magnitude of MVAs is lowered and less people are dying from this ongoing issue.
Mortality rates of MVAs are also dependent on geographic region, with each state and territory of Australia showing some variation between the years of 1971-2009. The Northern Territory shows the highest death rate, with the average deaths per 100,000 being 38.6. Queensland is the second highest, being considerably lower at 17.2 deaths per 100,000, and Tasmania following closely behind at 17.1 deaths per 100,000. Western Australia is next with 16.3 deaths per 100,000, followed by South Australia with 16 deaths per 100,000, New South Wales with 15.6 deaths per 100,000, Victoria with 14.1 deaths per 100,000 and finally the ACT had the lowest fatality rate of 9.5 deaths per 100,000 (Gargett Susan, 2011). This distribution of MVAs across Australia varies for a number of reasons...

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