Objective: To examine recent trends and geographic variations in road-traffic deaths in China.
Design: A longitudinal descriptive analysis of national and provincial data on road-traffic deaths, examining recent trends and geographic variations.
Setting: China, 1985–2005.
Data sources: The Transportation and communications yearbook of China (1986–2006) and the National statistics yearbook of China (1996–2006).
Main outcome measures: The percentage change in death rates per 100 000 population was used to examine the trend. Epi Info was used to map the geographic distribution of road-traffic death rates and the increases in rates. Correlation coefficients were calculated between per capita gross regional product, road quality, and the number of motor vehicles in the 31 provinces, to help understand the geographic variations in road-traffic mortality at the provincial level in China.
Results: The road-traffic death rate increased by 95%, from 3.9/100 000 persons in 1985 to 7.6/100 000 persons in 2005. High death rates and the greatest increases in death rates occurred in both developed provinces in the southeast and underdeveloped northern and western provinces. Xizang/Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang, with the lowest population density, had the highest death rates per 100 vehicles.
Conclusions: China’s government should introduce and support measures to prevent road-traffic injuries. Developed and underdeveloped provinces in China should both be considered when road-traffic policy and interventions are developed.
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Funding: This research was supported by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant CCR302486).
Competing interests: None.