Background: Fatal road traffic accidents (RTA) are a major cause of concern all over the world. The outcome of injuries sustained in an RTA depends on various factors including but not limited to: the location of the event, type of vehicle involved, nature of the roads, the time of accident, etc.
Aims: This study aims to investigate and evaluate prospectively the socio-demographic profile and pattern of injuries in victims of RTA in the rural area of the Ahmedanagar district of Maharashtra state.
Method: This prospective study included all victims of RTA that presented to our emergency room from 1 June 2007 to 31 May 2009 and were either found dead on arrival or died during treatment. All the victims were autopsied at the post-mortem centre of Rural Medical College, Loni.
Results: Ninety-eight RTA victims were studied during the period. The most commonly affected age group was 20-39 years. Men died in RTA more than women. Fatal RTA were more prevalent on the secondary road system (47.97 per cent) and especially involved pedestrian and two wheeler vehicle users. Large numbers (n=63, 64.28%) of victims either died on the scene or during transportation. Numbers of skeletal injuries (199) and internal organ injuries (202) exceeded the total number of victims (98) clearly indicating the multiplicity of injuries. The majority of RTA victims (n=46, 46.93%) died due to head injury. The study showed that most deaths in RTA, brought to a tertiary care rural hospital, took place either on the spot or within 24 hours of injury which is very alarming and highlights the need to take urgent steps to establish good pre-hospital care and provision of trauma services at site.
Conclusion: A computerised trauma registry is urgently needed to highlight risk factors, circumstances and chains of events leading to accidents. This would be extremely helpful in policy making and health management in India.
Keywords: Road traffic accidents; injuries; rural; vehicles.