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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 305-306

COVID-19 pandemic: A miracle or mirage in preventing road traffic accidents - A data exploration

Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission17-Sep-2021
Date of Decision01-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance06-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication07-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prem Sagar Panda
Flat No-203, Trishna Orchid, Kanan Vihar Phase-2, Bhubaneswar - 751 017, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_78_21

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How to cite this article:
Panda PS, Bhattcharjya M. COVID-19 pandemic: A miracle or mirage in preventing road traffic accidents - A data exploration. Curr Med Issues 2021;19:305-6

How to cite this URL:
Panda PS, Bhattcharjya M. COVID-19 pandemic: A miracle or mirage in preventing road traffic accidents - A data exploration. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 May 31];19:305-6. Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2021/19/4/305/331842

COVID-19, a severe form of ARDS, was declared pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. The best way is to prevent the spread of the disease which can be achieved by wearing mask, physical distancing, and handwashing. The Government of India also enforced a strict nationwide lockdown from March 24, 2020, which was initially announced to be for 21 days but continued till May 31. From June 1, 2020, gradual unlock started.

  Effect of Lockdown on Road Traffic Accident Top

With most of the global population on a “;lockdown” status, road traffic volumes and mobility activities in general have immensely dropped.

According to the WHO,

  • Approximately 1.3 million people die each year due to road traffic accident (RTA)
  • More than 50 million more people suffer nonfatal injuries
  • Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths are among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists
  • 93% of the world's fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries
  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults
  • The risk factors include over-speeding, drink and drive, using mobile while driving, not wearing helmets and seat belts, unsafe road infrastructure, and vehicle condition
  • RTAs can be prevented by effective interventions such as designing safer infrastructure and incorporating road safety features, transport planning, safety features of vehicles, and improving postcrash care for victims of road crashes
  • As per the National Crime Bureau, the total number of accidents in India and Odisha in 2019 was 437,396 and 11,064, respectively, out of which death occurred in 154,372 and 5333 subjects, whereas there is reduction in total number of accidents and deaths in 2020 in Odisha (9817 accidents and 4738 deaths)
  • The new regulatory motor vehicle amendment bill, 2019 implemented since September 1, 2019.

  Findings from Comparative Studies Top

  1. A study by Dhillon et al., in a tertiary care referral center in North India, said that the number of injuries suffered due to RTAs in 2020 during the lockdown was less than what was seen in 2019[1]
  2. On a cross-country analysis of the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on driving behavior and road safety done in two countries, Greece and Saudi Arab revealed that “;there was a 41% decrease in the number of RTAs from February 2020 to March 2020 in Greece”[2]
  3. A study of the impact of COVID-19 on RTA by Hamid of Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi states that the number of injuries and fatalities from RTAs has greatly reduced during the lockdown[3]
  4. Another study on mandated societal lockdown and RTAs by Qureshi et al. states that there was a considerable reduction in minor or no injuries but no reduction in serious or fatal injuries.[4]

Drawing an inference from all the studies conducted in the lockdown period due to COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say that the number of RTAs during the above-said period is lesser than prelockdown times. However, some studies do state that the accidents resulting in minor or no injuries have reduced, but those which result in grave injuries and fatalities are constant. Even though a decrease in the number of RTAs has been noted, we must make sure that there is no surge in the post-COVID-19 era. The accidents that happen due to negligence of drivers can be minimized by creating stringent traffic rules and their implementation. People need to be educated about the traffic safety and rules.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dhillon MS, Kumar D, Saini UC, Bhayana H, Gopinathan NR, Aggarwal S. Changing pattern of orthopaedic trauma admissions during COVID-19 pandemic: Experience at a tertiary trauma centre in India. Indian J Orthop 2020;54:374-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Katrakazas C, Michelaraki E, Sekadakis M, Yannis G. A descriptive analysis of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on driving behavior and road safety. Transp Res Interdiscip Perspect 2020;7:100186.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hamid S. Impact of COVID-19 on road traffic accidents. J Pollut Eff Control 2020;8:259.  Back to cited text no. 3
Qureshi AI, Huang W, Khan S, Lobanova I, Siddiq F, Gomez CR, et al. Mandated societal lockdown and road traffic accidents. Accid Anal Prev 2020;146:105747.  Back to cited text no. 4


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