A Review of Types of Injuries Sustained Following Road Traffic Accidents and their Prevention

  • A. H. Rafindadi Department of Pathology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
Keywords: Road Traffic Accidents (RTA), epidemiology, prevention


Road traffic (RTA) accidents are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in all parts of the world. As an epidemiological problem, the control of the host (accident victim), the agent (the vehicle) and environmental factors involved in their causation should be considered. The health personnel who look after accident victims need to know the injury types and their mechanisms encountered in RTA. The accident victim can be the occupant of a motorcar, a motorcyclist, pillion passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian. Motorcar occupant can be the driver who may sustain injury to the wrists, forearm and pelvis or fracture of the ribs from the steering wheel. The driver and other front seat passenger can have lacerations on the face from hitting the windscreen, characteristic bruises and lacerations to the knees and skin from the dashboard or cervical spine injury through whiplash injury if there are no headrests on the seats. Backseat passenger may hit the back of the front seat or the sides of the car. Any of the occupants can be thrown out of the vehicle if the door springs open. Motor cyclists, pillion passengers, cyclists and pedestrians hit by a moving vehicle sustain primary and secondary impact injuries from the impact with the body of the vehicle, and or secondary injuries when they hit the ground or other object. Alcohol is an important factor in the cause of RTA, but additionally, some medical conditions such as advanced diabetes, hypertension, some prescribed drugs like tranquillisers and sedatives, stress and diseases that blunt locomotion and sensations in the elderly can influence the causation of accidents. Prevention will involve control of the host factors - illnesses, alcohol, accident repeaters and enforcement of driving regulations; agent factors - through better vehicle design using human engineering; and environmental factors through better road design and maintenance

(Nig J Surg Res 2000; 2:100-104)


Road Traffic Accidents (RTA), epidemiology, prevention

eISSN: 1595-1103