Role of Alcohol in Hospitalized Road Trauma in Viet Nam

ArticleinTraffic Injury Prevention 14(4):329-34 · March 2013with12 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.41 · DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2012.715253 · Source: PubMed

Objective: To assess the blood alcohol concentration (BAC; dependent variable) of patients with road traffic injuries (RTIs) presenting at 3 provincial and central hospitals in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam by age, sex, and road user type (independent variables). This survey formed part of the Viet Nam Road Traffic Injury Prevention Project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Introduction: RTIs are a leading cause of death and disability in Viet Nam, with 14,690 deaths and 143,940 injuries reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2010. Research estimates suggest that motorcycle riders and passengers account for 60 percent of fatalities. Alcohol has long been suspected of being a leading cause of road traffic collisions and injuries. However, until now data on this relationship have been limited. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study measuring BAC in all consenting patients with RTIs presenting at 3 provincial or central hospitals between July 2009 and September 2010. All results were anonymous and summary information on key variables was sent to MOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) on a monthly basis. Results: Of the 36,418 patients with RTIs presenting to these 3 hospitals between July 2009 and September 2010, BAC analysis was completed on 14,990 patients (41.2%), representing all patients with RTIs 15 years of age and above who consented to anonymous testing. BAC results ranged from 0 to 0.589 g/dL blood, with a mean of 0.0441 g/dL being the average concentration among all tested patients. Of all patients tested, 56.8 percent had no detectable alcohol in their system. Motorcycle riders were most commonly represented in the tested sample (70.7%), with 27.8 percent having a BAC above the legal limit (0.05 g/dL). Car or other vehicle drivers represented 2.7 percent of the sample, with 63.4 percent tested having a BAC above 0 g/dL, the legal limit for these road users. Conclusions: The results of this preliminary study indicate that 29.1 percent of all car drivers and motorcycle riders presenting at hospitals with RTIs exceeded the legal BAC limit for operating a motor vehicle. Though further study is required, this is suggestive that strengthening the enforcement of drink-driving laws is an urgent national road safety priority.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Viet Nam is experiencing a shift in its burden of disease profile with injuries becoming more prominent. A history of high alcohol involvement in road traffic crashes despite stringent laws led to increased enforcement by police, enhanced public education messaging and targeted social marketing campaigns in Ha Nam and Ninh Binh provinces in Viet Nam. This study aims to illustrate the changes in prevalence (November 2010 to December 2011) and knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) around alcohol use and drink-driving for the year 2011. Methods: Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) was collected through police enforcement checkpoints in the two provinces. The proportion of drivers with BrAC above the legal limit was plotted over time for both provinces. The trend in prevalence of drink-driving over time was further assessed using Poisson regression models. Prevailing KAPs were determined through surveying randomly selected road users over the age of 17 years at gas stations at quarterly intervals. Cross tabulations of key variables as well Chi-Square statistic were used to assess associations. Results: A total of 8,404 drivers were tested for BrAC levels of which less than 0.25% were female. Of 1,639 drivers displaying BrAC levels in excess of the legal limit, 87.3% were car drivers, 7.9% motorcyclists and 86% were between the ages of 25 and 44 years. KAP surveys captured 1,661 drivers over the study period. The prevalence of self-reported drink-driving increased 6 percentage points among respondents aged 27-36. Between 44% (January 2011) and 49% (December 2011) of respondents indicated awareness of a drinking and driving Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or BrAC limit and only 25% of all study participants recalled being penalized for a traffic violation - none of which were for drink-driving. Conclusion: While there has been some reduction in drink-driving prevalence, inadequate or incorrect knowledge on drink-driving legislation appears to be an impediment to greater gains. Increased attention needs to be paid to enforcement activities and social marketing campaigns need to be part of a multi-faceted programme that also works on improving existing legislation, takes into consideration gender issues, and enhances visible enforcement of the laws.
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each year, there are approximately 1.24 million deaths due to road traffic injuries, the majority of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. Since 2008, 35 countries have passed legislation to implement road safety strategies. However, many countries have yet to pass comprehensive legislation while others lack adequate enforcement of current policies. The annual global mortality rate due to road trauma remains unacceptably high and reflects the need for governments to prioritize the passage and implementation of road safety legislation. Alcohol is a leading risk factor for road trauma globally and the leading cause of death and disability in the Western Pacific region. Despite the overwhelming evidence that strict enforcement of drunk-driving policies can lead to a drastic reduction in alcohol-related road incidents, many countries in the Western Pacific lack sufficient data that could facilitate the design of appropriate drunk-driving interventions. This paper provides an analysis of the current status of policies and attitudes related to alcohol and road injuries throughout the Western Pacific region, with a specific focus on the Philippines. Following the passage of drunk-driving legislation in 2013, a medical records review of alcohol-related road trauma patients in Manila Doctors Hospital was conducted. The findings of this pilot project further highlight the pervasive problem of missing or unreliable data regarding alcohol’s role in road trauma. Assessing the burden of drunk driving is an important step in designing effective interventions and systematically changing attitudes about driving under the influence.
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