Background: Road traffic injuries (RTI) are a major cause of mortality and disability in the world. Only after significant losses have communities in developed nations taken necessary steps to prevent crashes and their consequences. Increase in road safety is related to increasing socio-economic development. We aim to study the trends in injury and death rates in a developing country, India, define sub-national variations, and analyse these trends in relation to economic and population growth. Methods: Public sector data from India were used to develop a standardized database on traffic injuries and indicator of economic development. The data were analysed using linear regression models to test the a priori hypothesis of a positive relationship between net domestic product (NDP), and injury and death rates from road crashes across states. Results: The absolute burden of RTI in India has been consistently rising over the past three decades. The reported rates are lower than those estimated by global health agencies and may reflect under-reporting. Population-based rates provide a better assessment of the public health burden of RTI than vehicle-based rates. There is an inverted U-shaped relationship between NDP and injury and death rates. Even with the limited data, Kuznets phenomenon is evident for within-country level comparisons. Conclusions: India and other developing countries could learn from the experience of highly motorized nations to avoid the expected rise in RTI and deaths with economic development, by currently investing in road safety and prevention measures.
- Economic development
- Road safety
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health