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Road traffic injuries in Peace Corps Volunteers, 1996–2014
  1. Rennie W Ferguson,
  2. Susan J Henderson,
  3. Paul Jung
  1. U.S. Peace Corps, Office of Health Services, Washington, DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Rennie Ferguson, U.S. Peace Corps, Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, 1111 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20526 USA; rferguson{at}


Introduction Road traffic injuries are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Travellers are at risk given unfamiliarity with local road conditions and traffic rules. Peace Corps Volunteers are a unique population of long-term travellers who live and work in-country, often in remote settings, over a period of 27 months and use a range of transportation modes.

Methods Data from Peace Corps' Epidemiologic Surveillance System (ESS) and Death In-Service (DIS) database were analysed in 2015 for non-fatal and fatal road traffic injuries among in-service Volunteers from 1996 to 2014. Volunteer-months were used to calculate incidence rates, and rates were compared among countries and regions.

Results A total of 5047 non-fatal and 15 fatal road crash injuries were reported during 1 616 252 Volunteer-months for an overall rate of 3.12 non-fatal injuries and 0.01 fatalities per 1000 Volunteer-months. The total combined rate of nonfatal road traffic injuries among Volunteers generally declined from 4.01 per 1000 Volunteer-months in 1996 to 2.84 in 2014. Pedestrian and bicycle injuries emerged as the most frequent mechanisms of injury during this timeframe. Differences in rates of observed road traffic-related fatalities among Volunteers compared with expected age-matched cohort rates in the US were not statistically significant.

Conclusions Peace Corps transportation policies and training, and changes to road environments worldwide, may have led to a decrease in the rate of road traffic injuries among Peace Corps Volunteers. Pedestrians and bicyclists remain at risk of road traffic injuries.

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conception and design of the study and reviewed and contributed to editing the manuscript. RWF analysed the data, and RWF, SJH and PJ authored the draft of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.