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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit


Keyword: china

JH-IIRU Publishes Paper Highlighting Need to Improve Road Safety in BRICS Countries

The middle-income countries of Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa are collectively known as BRICS and have all recently experienced rapid and considerable economic growth as well as substantial political and social change.

The rapid developments in these countries has led to an increased number of vehicles and an increased complexity of traffic mix which, along with an infrastructure and law enforcement that are struggling to keep pace, appear to be key factors in increasing the number of road traffic injuries (RTIs), both fatal and non-fatal. The BRICS countries already account for approximately 20% of world’s deaths from RTIs and associated economic losses (which are estimated at 1-3% of the countries’ gross domestic products); this number is only expected to increase unless investments in road safety are made.

Recently, JH-IIRU team members, director Adnan Hyder and research assistant Andres Vecino-Ortiz, published, “BRICS: Opportunities to improve road safety” in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, which examines the relationship between economic growth and road traffic injuries, presents evidence on the current status of road traffic injuries and recommends improvement of road safety monitoring and evaluation.

Their research finds that in order to improve road safety, the five countries must invest in system-wide road safety interventions as well as collect more reliable data in order to track changes in more detail, increase law enforcement and research capacity.   

Read more here.

JH-IIRU Team Members Publish Paper on Bicyclist Mortality in China

Recent studies have shown considerable undercounting of bicyclist mortality rates in police-reported data in China. Comparisons between the Ministry of Health’s vital registration data and the Disease Surveillance Points data (DSP) show significant disparity in rates from that of the official, police-reported rates.

JH-IIRU team members, including associate faculty Sai Ma and research assistant Qingfeng Li, recently published a study addressing this disparity in Injury Prevention. “Bicyclist mortality between 2006 and 2010 in China: Findings from national Disease Surveillance Points (DSP) data,” examines the trend in bicycle mortality using DSP data.

The study found that, between 2006 and 2010, the mortality rate for bicyclists increased from 1.1 to 1.6 per 100,000 population, according to DSP data, and more than 90% of bicyclist deaths were undercounted by police compared to DSP data during the same time period. However, because the police-reported statistics are regarded as the official data source, bicyclist injury and mortality rates may suffer from under-reporting.

This paper suggests the importance of using health sector data to compliment the reporting of traffic bicyclist injuries, as well as the need to improve police reports in China to more accurately reflect mortality rates.

These findings have several important policy implications: including health sector data can improve the quality of the data, as well as influence the implementation of interventions, such as promoting helmet use, mass media campaigns and legislation to curb the recent increase in mortality.

You can access the paper here:


Prominent Member of the Unit Featured in Lancet Road Safety Article

Dr. Sai Ma of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit was recently featured in an article in the Lancet about road traffic fatality data in China. The July 23 article, “Uncertainty clouds China's road-traffic fatality data,” discusses concerns that the number of deaths is underreported by officials there.

Dr. Ma offered her experience with the Road Safety in 10 Countries project to emphasize the importance of collaboration among different sectors in implementing road safety solutions. “The Ministry of Health can't go onto the road and stop speeding cars and give tickets,” said Dr. Ma. “They can't go out onto the streets to change traffic light patterns. They have to build a really strong and close relationship with the ministries that can do those interventions.”

According to Dr. Ma, the Road Safety in 10 Countries project provides a good example of the supportiveness of and cooperation among city governments, police and public health officials in the country.

For more information about our work in road safety, please contact us.


Most of China's road traffic deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. (Photo Credit: The Lancet)