A study of accidents victims' and drivers knowledge and practices on road traffic accidents in Thika and Machakos hospitals
Ndwigah, Kaari Roseline
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Kenya has witnessed two apparent trends in the road transport sector. On one hand, there has been a tremendous increase in transport activity while on the other there is deterioration in the state of road safety. According to the WHO (1993) report, an average of 800,000 human lives are lost annually and between 10 and 15 million persons injured in the world as a result of Road Traffic Accidents (RTA's). This heavy toll represents one death every fifty seconds and one injured person every two seconds worldwide. The aim of the study was to determine the knowledge, and practices of surviving accident victims and drivers regarding road traffic accidents, what they perceived as causes of accidents on Kenyan roads and ways of curbing them. This study was undertaken in Thika and Machakos Hospitals and some sampled car termini in Nairobi and a total of 315 respondents were interviewed. Data was collected through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions. A sample of 200 drives participated in the study where 73.5% were males and 26.5% females. Forty one point five percent of the drivers had been involved in a road accident at one time where 24.1% of them were fatal. Among the reasons cited by the drivers as the causes of accidents were careless driving (40.7%), vehicle defects (24.7%), road defects (18.5%) and others, which included fatigue, stress and emergency breaking (16%). Eighty four percent of the drivers' felt that speeding was a major factor in causing accidents. Though speeding by drivers had no statistically significant association with accidents. Though speeding by drivers had no statistically significant association with accidents, more than half, (55%) of the drivers admitted to driving at a speed of 100km/hr and above (c2=1.016; p=0.313; df=1). Eighty seven percent of the drivers had driving licences while the rest, 13% did not have. Out of the 115 accident victims interviewed, 51.3% and 48.7% from Machakos and Thika District Hospitals respectively. Seventy three point nine percent of the victims were in-patients while the remaining 26.1% were outpatients. Majority, (58.3%) had arm/leg fractures, 33% head/ and neck injuries, 28.7% back/ and chest injuries, 14.8% limb(s) amputed while those with those with minor injuries were only 13%. Eighty seven percent of accidents victims felt that overloading of vehicles was a major cause of accidents. However, 69.9% said they would board a 'matatu' that was full if they were late to get to some place. There was no significant relationship between overloading as a cause of accidents and those who said they would board a full 'matatu' (c2=0.887; p<0.364; df=1). All accident victims felt that speeding was an important cause of accidents in Kenya. The results showed that the highest mentioned ways of reducing accidents by the drivers and accidents victims were expansion and maintenance of the existing road network and formulation of government policies on road safety. The study points out the need to urgently address the issue of road traffic accidents due to the effects they have on social, physical and emotional attributes of the victims and entire society. The results of this study may be used by policy makers and other organizations advocating for road safety to formulate policies that will target on reducing mortality through RTA's.
- MST-Zoological Sciences