Comparing the cost of alcohol-related traffic crashes in rural and urban environments
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Context Existing studies have identified that, although to a lesser extent than individual factors such as males and young people, rural (compared to urban) communities represent a disproportionately high-risk of alcohol-related traffic crashes (ARTCs). To date, however, few studies have attempted to apply different costs to alcohol crashes of different severity, to provide more precise, and practically useful, data on which to base public health policy and intervention decisions. Objective The aim of this study is to quantify the per capita prevalence and differential costs of alcohol crashes of different levels of severity to determine the extent to which urban and rural geographical areas may differ in the costs attributable to ARTCs. Design A cross-sectional analysis of alcohol-related traffic crash and costs data from 2001 to 2007. Setting and participants Data from New South Wales, Australia. Main outcome measures Modified routinely collected traffic accident data to which costs relevant to alcohol crashes of different severity are applied. Results Although the rate per 10,000 population of alcohol-related crashes is 1.5 times higher in rural, relative to urban, communities, the attributable cost is four times higher, which largely reflects that rural alcohol-fatalities are seven to eight times more prevalent and costly. Conclusions Given that per capita alcohol-related fatal crashes in rural areas account for a disproportionately large proportion of the harms and costs associated with alcohol-related traffic crashes, the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions and public policy initiatives should consider the relative extent of ARTC-harm in rural versus urban communities.
Accident Analysis & Prevention
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified