[Evaluation of regulatory policies: the prevention of traffic accidents in Spain]

Gac Sanit. 2006 Mar;20 Suppl 1:79-87. doi: 10.1157/13086030.
[Article in Spanish]


Traffic accident injuries may be reduced with public policies. We review regulatory policies extending beyond the health sector by studying the case of traffic accident injuries. They have been the object of other analyses in Spain by both health professionals and professionals from other sectors, but we have not found a previous thorough review including regulatory aspects. We analyze the evolution of fatal victims of traffic accidents as collected by the Dirección General de Tráfico, stratifying for pedestrians, two-wheel vehicle occupants and occupants of other vehicles, and breaking down accidents between those occurring in roads and in urban settings. Despite the increase in exposure factors between 1970 and 2003, we observe a strong impact of regulatory policies in accident mortality. A favorable impact is seen for regulations and enforcement actions on motorcycle helmets, speed limits and the control of alcohol use, and a lower impact for safety belts, perhaps because its actual effective implementation was not equally sharp. The adoption of comprehensive plans or complex legislation packages seems to have had a positive impact, perhaps attributable to its triggering of more effective enforcement of already existing regulations. Although the existence of legal norms is not enough in itself, as its impact is low without active enforcement, compliance improves over time. In any case, the existence of specific initiatives to influence this field is important to obtain the best results of regulatory policies in public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Alcoholic Intoxication
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Motor Vehicles / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Motor Vehicles / standards
  • Program Evaluation
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Policy*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Transportation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Transportation / standards