Nonfatal Road Traffic Injuries: Can Road Safety Campaigns Prevent Hazardous Behavior? An Italian Experience

Road traffic injuries are a widespread problem and are very difficult to prevent. The purpose of this study was to verify whether intensive versus basic road safety education programs are associated with different incidence and severity of nonfatal road injuries. The study had an ecological design and involved Local Health Authority One (LHA1) in Salerno, Italy, which includes 20 municipalities. Data on nonfatal road injuries occurring in the periods June to August 2003 and June to August 2008 were obtained from trained operators through the information system of the emergency department. All 20 municipalities received a basic community road safety education program (publicity campaign using bill-posting, brochures, mass media communication with press conferences, articles in local papers, radio and television interviews, and a dedicated LHA1 web site), and 12 municipalities also received an intensive education campaign (in secondary schools, community conferences, and activities organized by police and firefighters). The incidence and severity of nonfatal road traffic injuries were compared between June to August 2003 (before the campaign) and June to August 2008. The total number of injuries in all 20 municipalities in 2003 and 2008 was 907 and 755, respectively. The incidence of injuries decreased in the study period both in the 8 municipalities where only the basic campaign was run and in the 12 municipalities where the intensive campaign was implemented; focusing on severity, the incidence of severe injuries decreased or remained the same in the study period in the 2 studied groups. The results are coherent with other European studies and show that an overall downward trend exists but is presumably not a direct consequence of road safety education. This does not mean that such campaigns are useless (they are important to raise awareness) but that they should be supplemented with complementary activities in order to be really effective.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01483933
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 28 2013 10:48AM