Road traffic accidents (RTA) are a leading cause of death globally as well as in Sri Lanka and results in a large proportion in disability especially among young people. Ninety-percent of world’s road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Safety measures, injury pattern and methods of patient transportation following RTA are important factors to reduce mortality and morbidity. Studies on this area are limited in Sri Lanka.
The main objective of this research was to assess the use of safety measures and proper method of transportation and describe the injury pattern among RTA victims. This study was conducted as a descriptive cross-sectional study. All the consecutive RTA victims admitted to surgical wards at District General Hospital, Matale, Sri Lanka, over a period of three months were included in the study.
Data from 387 victims were analyzed. The majority were in 20–30 year age group and were males. Limbs and head were the most affected areas of the body. Out of the injuries, 71% were non-grievous, 26% grievous and 1% necessarily fatal. Most of the grievous injuries were fractures. All fatalities had sustained skull fractures. Motorcycles and trishaws were most affected. Twenty percent of motorcycle riders did not use helmets while another 5% had not fastened it well. None of the victims used child restraints. Out of pedestrians, 24% did not use zebra crossings. About a fifth of the victims were under the influence of alcohol. A significant proportion of patients (75%) were transported to the hospital by trishaws and only 1% by ambulance. About 86% of them were seated while transport and 14% were flat.
As per this study, some safety measures and patient transportation were not satisfactory. There is a need to strengthen certain road safety laws and make sure people follow them.