Road accidents represent an enormous burden to society and an immeasurable human cost. During the last 30 years the overall volume of traffic has tripled and injuries after road accidents are today a major public health problem. Road accidents are predictable and preventable and many interventions may reduce the most severe events. The Commission of the European Union has recently proposed an action to halve the number of deaths after road accidents by 2010; all parts involved in road safety are committed to take action in this direction. Alcohol is one of the most important risk factors, being responsible for about 10,000 deaths each year in the European Union. The number of fatalities might be reduced by 5-40% by stopping driving with blood alcohol concentration over the legal limits of 0.5 mg/ml. Several factors may add to alcohol to determine the risk of road accidents and the severity of injury. The most important are high speed, male sex and young age, driving inexperience, fatigue, use of psychotropic legal and illicit drugs, weekend night, misuse of seat belts or helmets. Alcohol may impair the patho-physiological response to injury, but the putative mechanisms are not definitely proved. Also at low concentrations, it may influence both the diagnostic process and the final outcome of patients after injury. At first evaluation, the degree of injury may be overestimated in intoxicated patients, prompting a greater number of diagnostic manoeuvres and invasive procedures. Alcohol positive patients are more likely to need intensive care, surgery, blood transfusion, and longer hospital stay, because of more severe acute medical complications (infections, respiratory failure and shock). In patients with positive blood alcohol concentrations previously unsuspected injuries are more likely to be diagnosed during follow-up. The recidivism rate for road accidents is larger in patients with chronic alcohol abuse, independently of the driver or passenger status. Physicians who provide care to injured patients after road accidents have an important role in preventing alcohol-related injury and death. They can refer patients suspected for drinking and driving for treatment after a road accident, when their motivation is definitely increased. Brief interventions in the emergency room decrease alcohol consumption and decrease the incidence of further events caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol and road accidents

MARCHESINI REGGIANI, GIULIO;
2005

Abstract

Road accidents represent an enormous burden to society and an immeasurable human cost. During the last 30 years the overall volume of traffic has tripled and injuries after road accidents are today a major public health problem. Road accidents are predictable and preventable and many interventions may reduce the most severe events. The Commission of the European Union has recently proposed an action to halve the number of deaths after road accidents by 2010; all parts involved in road safety are committed to take action in this direction. Alcohol is one of the most important risk factors, being responsible for about 10,000 deaths each year in the European Union. The number of fatalities might be reduced by 5-40% by stopping driving with blood alcohol concentration over the legal limits of 0.5 mg/ml. Several factors may add to alcohol to determine the risk of road accidents and the severity of injury. The most important are high speed, male sex and young age, driving inexperience, fatigue, use of psychotropic legal and illicit drugs, weekend night, misuse of seat belts or helmets. Alcohol may impair the patho-physiological response to injury, but the putative mechanisms are not definitely proved. Also at low concentrations, it may influence both the diagnostic process and the final outcome of patients after injury. At first evaluation, the degree of injury may be overestimated in intoxicated patients, prompting a greater number of diagnostic manoeuvres and invasive procedures. Alcohol positive patients are more likely to need intensive care, surgery, blood transfusion, and longer hospital stay, because of more severe acute medical complications (infections, respiratory failure and shock). In patients with positive blood alcohol concentrations previously unsuspected injuries are more likely to be diagnosed during follow-up. The recidivism rate for road accidents is larger in patients with chronic alcohol abuse, independently of the driver or passenger status. Physicians who provide care to injured patients after road accidents have an important role in preventing alcohol-related injury and death. They can refer patients suspected for drinking and driving for treatment after a road accident, when their motivation is definitely increased. Brief interventions in the emergency room decrease alcohol consumption and decrease the incidence of further events caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
Comprehensive Handbook of Alcohol Related Pathology
309
320
A. Fabbri; G. Marchesini Reggiani; A. Vandelli
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/52958
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact