road accidents cyclists

Road crash risk lowest among Asians – study

A new research has found the road crash injury risk in New Zealand’s Auckland is lowest among Aucklanders of Asian descent.

The University of Auckland report “Social and Geographical Differences in Road Traffic Injury in the Auckland Region” is commissioned by Auckland Transport.

The research looks at the background of Aucklanders admitted to hospital as crash deaths or with injuries between 2000 and 2008.

“Among youth and adults, injury risk for the Chinese population was lower than ‘Other Asian’ populations, with risk for the Indian population at an intermediate level,” the report says. Indians were also least likely to be involved in crashes as pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.

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Also, Asians are under-represented in injury claims to ACC. “Barriers to accessing ACC services have been identified for Asian populations in New Zealand, and may explain low rates of ACC claims in Asian populations.”

This report found that between 2000 and 2004, hospitalisation rates per capita for road traffic injuries were higher among Māori than European and Pacific populations, with rates for the Asian population lowest of all.

The road crash injury risk is highest among New Zealand’s Indigenous Maoris, and is also high for Pacific children. The crash injury risk is higher for those living in rural areas, and people living in the southern Auckland urban area had among the highest rates.

University of Auckland researcher, Dr Jamie Hosking, says “This suggests there are large inequalities in crash risk across Auckland and some of our most vulnerable communities could really benefit from road safety prevention efforts, particularly traffic calming and speed reduction”.

Auckland Transport chairman, Dr Lester Levy, says “This research shows how we could better target particular communities who have a higher risk of injury.”

The findings confirm similar reports in other western countries where “ethnic minorities often experience a disproportionate burden from motor vehicle crashes”, says the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention.

In the USA, road traffic injury rates were highest for the American Indian/Alaskan Native group, and lowest for the Asian/Pacific Islander group. Another study in the USA found that black motorcyclists had higher mortality rates after crashes, despite higher levels of helmet use, “suggesting that access to care or quality of care could influence mortality rates for this group,” according to the American Journal of Surgery (2010).

In Australia, indigenous people have higher road traffic injury mortality rates. Similarly, a study in London, United Kingdom found that the black population had the highest road traffic injury rates, followed by the white population, with the lowest rates among the Asian population.

A Swedish study found that country of origin did not predict road traffic injuries, but socio‐economic status (as measured by occupation) was a strong predictor.

The research reveals some diverse findings including a higher rate of road crash injuries among youth (aged 15 to 24 years) and older adults (aged 65 years and above) than adults aged 25 to 64 years.

Males have higher injury rates than females, except among older adults.

Download full research report ‘Social and Geographical Differences in Road Traffic Injury in the Auckland Region’ (PDF file 4MB).


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