Indexed on: 15 Aug '19Published on: 14 Aug '19Published in: Traffic injury prevention
Road traffic crashes (RTCs) are responsible for a large number of deaths worldwide, but low- and middle-income countries frequently present higher rates of deaths; for example, Norway, a high-income country, has a rate of 2.0 drivers killed per 100,000 inhabitants, whereas Brazil, a middle-income country, has a rate of 18.4. A significant fraction of RTCs are related to use of psychoactive substances, especially alcohol, due to its availability, legality, and relatively low price. The aim of the present study was to evaluate differences in alcohol-related fatal RTCs in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, and Norway during an 11-year period (2005-2015). The authors compared databases of drivers killed in RTCs in Sao Paulo and in Norway, a country renowned for its success in reducing traffic fatalities and keeping them at a low level. In total, 772 victims from Norway (11 years, 2005 to 2015) and 584 victims from Sao Paulo (2 years, 2005 and 2015) were analyzed. Sao Paulo presented higher proportions of motorcycle drivers, men involved in RTCs, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC)-positive cases. The mean BAC for alcohol-positive cases was similar in both sites. For both regions, the percentage of alcohol-positive cases decreased during the study period (from 45.6% to 35.3% in Sao Paulo and from 24.4% to 15.8% in Norway) but remained higher for Sao Paulo. The study shows a different profile of RTC victims and higher alcohol consumption among drivers in Sao Paulo. The differences between the sites can possibly be attributed to public policies regarding traffic safety and alcohol control, which could be further improved by following the Norwegian model in Sao Paulo.