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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit


Keyword: road safety

"Streets for Life" and the 6th Annual UN Global Road Safety Week

Road traffic crashes contribute to more than 1.3 million annual deaths worldwide, with many more suffering from disability. The burden of these deaths and disabilities disproportionately impacts those living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In 2015, an ambitious goal of reducing deaths from crashes by 50% by 2020 was set under the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6. While significant progress has been made, unfortunately, the world wasn’t able to meet this goal, because of both its aggressive vision and the rapid motorization and urbanization patterns seen across the globe. It thus remains imperative that the work in road safety and injury prevention continues unremittingly from prevention of crashes to adequate post-crash care provision of services. It is encouraging, therefore, that the UN adopted resolution 74/299 to improve global road safety and proclaim a second decade of action to prevent at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is proud to join the United Nations in acknowledging the UN Road Safety Week 2021 and its theme “Streets for Life,” and lending support for lowering speed limits (30km/h or 20mph) in urban areas to improve the safety for all road users.

Why focus on speed?

In short, reducing speeds saves lives. Lower speeds decrease the probability of a crash and its severity. Speed management is not only paramount to improving road safety, but also for sustainable mobility by creating inclusive environments for non-motorized modes of transport, and to help mitigate the impact of climate change from road transport.

Putting most vulnerable users first

Higher speeds in urban areas disproportionately affect vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and children. Globally, there has been a shift in the major cause of death of children and young adults from infectious diseases to road traffic injuries now being the main cause for persons between age 5 and 29 years. Hence, enacting and enforcing lower speed limits on roads where vulnerable road users are exposed to high-speed traffic and in the vicinity of schools and communities will help to limit the number of young pedestrians who are impacted by crashes. The JH-IIRU team is proud to contribute to global efforts to improve road safety through multiple avenues including the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. Since its inception in 2008, the JH-IIRU team has been involved in activities ranging from evidence generation and intervention evaluation to capacity development and translation of evidence into effective policies and programs across the globe.

Going beyond injury prevention: post-crash scenarios

While speed control measures can be taken to prevent crashes from happening in the first place, they are also effective in reducing the severity of crashes when they happen. In addition to these measures, efforts are also needed to focus on post-crash care to avail appropriate and timely care to affected individuals. These efforts ought to go beyond just the acute phase and include medium to long-term rehabilitation, which is key to restoring functioning and improve the overall well-being of individuals. Increasing focus on the post-crash scenario is important to not only save lives but also to restore the lives of the injured as close as possible to their pre-crash states.

Considering rehabilitation as part of continuum of care

Lack of availability, affordability and accessibility to rehabilitation services is a limiting factor for many who need rehabilitation care. These key population- and systems-level limitations have social and economic consequences for countries if not addressed in a timely manner. Even with limited resources available, enhancing availability of and access to rehabilitation services worldwide provide an opportunity for improving quality of lives of individuals. For road traffic injuries, which disproportionately impact vulnerable road users and younger populations across the globe, rehabilitation services are especially useful in preventing complications from injuries and long-term consequences – health, societal, and economic.

Through the newly launched Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), JH-IIRU leads a multidisciplinary consortium that seeks to bridge this gap, and address the growing rehabilitation needs of populations across the globe. We are working to co-develop systems-based solutions to efficiently and effectively respond to rehabilitation needs of individuals, and develop capacity of providers, leaders and health systems to provide rehabilitation care.

Rehabilitation needs a multisectoral person-centered approach that engages local stakeholders and develops approaches that are demand-driven and contextually relevant to ensure their integration and sustainability. By understanding and addressing the rehabilitation needs of individuals after a crash event, and processes involved, ReLAB-HS will generate empirical evidence that will contribute to strengthened health systems that integrate rehabilitation services as a core service.

COVID-19 Lockdown Led to Relative Increase in Speed-Related Traffic Violations and Fatal Crashes in Japan

As a result of COVID-19, government-implemented lockdowns led to a relative increase in speed-related traffic law violations and fatal motor vehicle collisions in Japan, according to research at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit.

Using police-reported data on the number of fatal motor vehicle collisions between January 2010 and February 2020, researchers forecasted the number of fatal collisions per day from March to May 2020, when Japan was under COVID-19 lockdown. Over the 10 years of data analysis in the country of more than 120 million people, the team reviewed 37,000 fatal collisions.

“Through this work, we can conclude that drivers who continued to drive during the lockdown were in fact more likely to commit speed-related violations that cause fatal motor vehicle collisions than the overall drivers did before the lockdown,” said study lead author Haruhiko Inada. “It is necessary for road users and law enforcement to understand that drivers who remain on the road during a lockdown can be at an increased risk for committing such violations that result in fatal motor vehicle collisions.”

The findings, published online on October 16 in Injury Prevention, could build upon the growing conversation on the pandemic’s effect on global public health, specifically road safety.

“COVID-19 lockdown and fatal motor vehicle collisions due to speed-related traffic violations in Japan: a time-series study” was written by Haruhiko Inada, Lamisa Ashraf, and Sachalee Campbell.

To learn more about the research, please click here.

Study Finds Enforcement Efforts Effective in Increasing Correct Motorcycle Helmet Use in Colombia

The presence of enforcement increases the correct use of motorcycle helmets, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and Grupo SUR at Universidad de los Andes.

Semiannual observational studies of motorcycle users in six randomly selected sites in Bogota were conducted between 2015 and 2018. In observing more than 70,000 motorcycles, researchers found that enforcement, increases the correct use of helmets especially in principal roads.

“Our work emphasizes the direct relationship between enforcement and correct helmet use among motorcyclists,” said lead author Luis A. Guzman of Universidad de los Andes. “And it is critically important to understand how we can better protect our motorcyclists and encourage correct helmet use. Here in Colombia the number of motorcyclists has nearly doubled between 2013 and 2018.”

The findings, published online August 21 in Traffic Injury Prevention, could help inform decision makers all across the globe and particularly in low- and middle-income countries where evidence-based road safety interventions are most needed.

In the work, researchers also found that though 99% of drivers and passengers wore helmets, only 89% of drivers and 82% of passengers used them correctly. Female, adult, and single riders were are all more likely to correctly wear helmets. The study also noted a relationship between the concentration of fatalities and incorrect helmet use in 80% of the observational sites.

“The relationships between correct helmet use, enforcement presence, and mortality in a Latin-America city: The case study of Bogota, Colombia” was written by Luis A. Guzman, Andres Ignacio Vecino Ortiz, Vanessa Guzman Mesa, Jose Pablo Camargo, Katharine A. Allen, and Adnan A. Hyder.

To learn more about the research, please click here.

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Leadership Participates in Latest United Nations Road Safety Collaboration Meeting

Dr. Abdul Bachani, Director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), will be in Geneva, Switzerland on October 29-30, 2019 for the 28th UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) meeting. Dr. Bachani joins road safety experts and collaborators from around the world.

While in Geneva, members of the UNRSC will participate in critical conversations on global road safety and also prepare for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Stockholm, Sweden on February 19-20, 2020. A member of the High Level Consultative Committee, Dr. Bachani and JH-IIRU have been closely involved in preparations for the conference....Click here to read more.

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Co-Hosts Global Road Safety Leadership Course

From September 8 to September 20, 2019, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and Global Road Safety Partnership co-led a two-week training course on road safety in Baltimore, Maryland.

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the course included more than 60 participants from 30 low- and middle-income countries around the world. Over the two weeks, participants and organizers -- including leadership, faculty, and staff from JH-IIRU -- worked to build leadership capacity to design, advocate for, and implement effective road safety programs and policies....Click here to read more.