Objective: To report the magnitude of under-reporting of road traffic injury (RTI) to the police from population-based and hospital-based data in the urban population of Hyderabad, India.
Methods: In a cross-sectional population-based survey, 10 459 participants aged 5–49 years (94.3% participation), selected using three-stage systematic cluster sampling, recalled the reporting of non-fatal RTIs to the police in the preceding 12 months and fatal RTIs in the preceding 3 years. In addition, 781 consecutive RTI cases presenting to the emergency department of five hospitals provided information on RTI reporting to the police.
Results: In the population-based study, of those who had non-fatal RTIs and sought outpatient or inpatient services, 2.3% (95% 1.1% to 3.5%) and 17.2% (95% CI 3.5% to 30.9%), respectively, reported the RTI to the police. Of the non-fatal consecutive RTI cases presenting to emergency departments, 24.6% (95% CI 21.3% to 27.8%) reported the RTI to the police. In the population-based study, 77.8% (95% CI 65.1% to 90.5%) of the fatal RTIs were reported to the police, and of the consecutive fatal RTI cases presenting to emergency departments, 98.1% (95% CI 95.5% to 100%) were reported to the police. The major reasons cited for not reporting RTIs to the police were “not necessary to report” and “hit and run case”.
Conclusions: As road safety policies are based on police data in India, these studies highlight serious limitations in estimating the true magnitude of RTIs from these data, indicating the need for better methods for such estimation.
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