Since 1991, the total number of motor vehicles has more than doubled in Russia. But with rapid motorization comes an increase in road traffic injuries (RTIs). In 2009, there were more than 250,000 RTIs and more than 26,000 deaths resulting from RTIs.

Russia’s high instance of injuries from road traffic collisions has been attributed in part to low rate of seatbelt use (the estimates of which vary across the Federation from 15-33 percent). Previous research has shown the use of seatbelts is an important means of reducing the risk of death or serious injury in a crash by almost 50% for both drivers and front seat passengers and by 25% for rear seat passengers. Because of these statistics, the Russian federal government has taken steps to improve overall road safety and by extension, increase seatbelt wearing rates, by instituting programs such as the Federal Targeted Program for Ensuring Road Traffic Safety. Despite these efforts, there has been no study published in English to examine their impact.

It is for this reason that JH-IIRU team members, including affiliated faculty Sai Ma,  along with RS-10 consortium partners from Lipetsk State Technical University and the World Health Organization, recently published “Seatbelt and Child Seat Use in Lipetskaya Oblast, Russia: Frequencies, Attitudes, and Perceptions.” This article, the first study published in English, describes, in detail, the patterns of seatbelt use and attitudes among drivers and passengers toward seatbelt use in Russia.

As part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries project (RS-10), in 2012, JH-IIRU published “Public Health Burden of Road Traffic Injuries: An Assessment from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Traffic Injury Prevention. This landmark publication includes 11 scientific papers jointly authored with 50 colleagues from JH-IIRU and their in-country collaborators that contribute much-needed new knowledge to the burgeoning issue of road traffic injuries in low- and middle- income countries.

You can access the full article along with the entire special issue here.

To find out more about JH-IIRU and road safety, contact us at IIRU@JHSPH.edu