Background In 2009, the road traffic injury mortality rate (36.1 per 100 000 population) in South Africa was marginally lower than the rate for violence. Violence as a concerning public health problem receives considerably more attention from policy makers, and rates have halved between 1997 and 2012, while road traffic mortality rates remained constant. The aim of this analysis is to determine if standards can be set towards meeting SDG Target 3.6 for road injuries, by comparing two surveys for 2009 and 2017.
Methods We are conducting a retrospective review of post-mortem reports at a nationally representative sample of mortuaries for 2017, to estimate the number and profile of non-natural deaths. Results for the 2017 survey will be available by May 2020. Age-standardised mortality rates and incidence rate ratios will be calculated to compare the road user categories for 2017, with a 2009 survey.
Results In 2009, pedestrian deaths lead the overall road traffic mortality profile, where males (19.2 per 100 000; CI 16.7–21.8) had significantly higher rates than females (5.3 per 100 000; CI 4.2–6.4). Road traffic mortality rates were high between 15 and 59 years but children too were disproportionately affected.
Conclusion Nationally, road traffic injuries are the second leading cause of death after HIV/AIDS for children 5–14 years and the third leading cause for adults 15–44 years. The results of the two comparative surveys will be used to raise awareness among policy makers about the risk factors and targeted prevention and intervention strategies.
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