Non-fatal Road Traffic Crashes and Near Misses among Adolescents Aged 16-18 in Galle, Sri Lanka
Background: Sri Lanka is experiencing an epidemic of road traffic crashes and injuries but little is known about the burden among adolescents and associated risk factors. The objective of this paper is to assess the prevalence of road traffic crashes and injuries among adolescents aged 16-18 years old and to estimate the effect of risk factors, including demographic characteristics, behaviors and built environment characteristics around school, on the occurrence of both crashes and near misses. Methods: First, A survey was anonymously administered to determine demographics, behavior, and experience of road traffic crashes and related injuries among adolescents from 16 public high schools in Galle, Sri Lanka. Second, a built environment observation was also conducted near school surroundings. Descriptive analysis and multivariate regression analysis was conducted to assess the relationship between built environment and road traffic crashes/near misses by using STATA. The results were displayed in the map by using ArcGIS. Results: Among 1307 students from 16 public high schools aged between 16-18 years old, 206 students self-reported road traffic crash involvement in the past 6 months with 98 students reporting minor injury and 7 students suffering severe injury. In addition, 27.8% of respondents were involved in near misses in the past 6 months. Male students, who demonstrated poor road behaviors, and students who experienced near misses are more likely to be involved in road traffic crashes. Additionally, more than half of the roads around these schools are in poor condition with little infrastructures to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles. The occurrence of road traffic crashes and the severity of road traffic injuries are significantly related to some environmental characteristics, which tend to include road type and road visibility. Conclusions: Adolescents in Galle, Sri Lanka are facing a comparatively high burden of road traffic crashes. Conducting intervention programs among male students and improving built environment on the way to school are potential effective strategies to prevent adolescents from road traffic crashes and injuries.
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