Medical treatment and traffic fatality reductions in industrialized countries

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Reductions in traffic-related fatalities in developed industrialized countries have been substantial in the last 30 years. Most analyses have attributed this reduction to changes in vehicle design, better road design, increased seat-belt use, and reductions in driving under the influence of alcohol. This paper analyses the impact of improvements in medical treatment and technology. Data from the International Road and Traffic Accident Database (IRTAD), which includes all developed countries, was used in combination with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Health Care data. Using proxy measures to account for improvements in medical treatment and technology it is found that these proxy variables are significant and capture much of the residual time trend in the data when they are omitted. Changes in age cohorts, such as fewer young people, also have contributed to a reduction in fatalities. These results suggest that medical technology improvements are associated with reductions in traffic-related fatalities over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-883
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


  • International Road and Traffic Accident Database
  • Medical technology
  • Negative binomial model
  • Traffic-related fatalities

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