Road Traffic Injuries And Deaths On Italian Motorways: are they associated with safety law violations?

  • Giuseppe La Torre
  • Alice Mannocci
  • Nicola Nicolotti
Keywords: Motorway, injuries, behavioural determinants, Italy


Introduction: Road traffic injuries are an important problem in Italy. Several measures have been taken to reduce this problem,
including law enforcment policies to improve safe road behaviour (e.g. wearing of seat belts an helmets). We analysed recent trends in
road traffic injuries and deaths on Italian motorways and their association with safety law violations.
Methods: We used data on both road traffic injuries and safety law violations from Police registries, concerning the period 2001–
2013. Using linear regression models, we evaluated two outcomes: 1) the number of fatal injuries and 2) the total number of injuries
with injured people. Covariates in the analysis were the number of fines: for dangerous speed, for excess of speed, for motor cycle use
without a crash helmet, for driving without safety belts, for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the season of
accident occurrence. With the R2 coefficient we evaluated the quality of the model.
Results: During the period considered a significant decrease of road traffic injury and fatality rates on motorways occurred.
Simultaneously, fines for bad road behaviours have increased especially for dangerous driving and for not use of safety belt.
The number of fatal injuries in motorway is significantly associated with the number of fines for dangerous speed (β=0.45;
p<0.001), for not use of safety belt (β=0.69; p<0.001) and for use of drugs(β=-0.34; p=0.001). Significant direct associations are
shown for injuries with wounded people respect the fines for dangerous speed, not use of safety belt, use of the mobile phone and
seasonality ( all seasons registered a elevate number of injuries in comparison to the winter); while inverse association is found versus
fines for speeding. In each of the two models no significant associations respect to motorway fines for not use of helmet and alcohol
assumption are found.
Conclusions: More violations of the safety belt law and the dangerous speed, as indicated by the number of fines, are associated
with elevate number of nonfatal and fatal injuries on Italian motorways. The low number of fines for use of drugs is associated to
lower number of fatal injuries.
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