Original articles

Fatal road traffic accidents (RTA) in Mtatha area of South Africa.

Banwari Lal Meel


Background: Trauma is one the leading causes of deaths in Mthatha area of South Africa. This part of the country is one of the least developed. Road traffic accidents contribute substantially to these traumatic deaths.
Objective: To estimate and correlate with age and sex the fatal road traffic accidents in Mthatha area.
Methods: Record review of autopsies performed in Mthatha General Hospital mortuary. Data were analyzed using the GENSTAT 9 package fitted in Poisson regression model.
Results: There were 2736 deaths from Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) over the 12-year period 1993 – 2004 in the Mthatha area of South Africa. The casualties accounted for an average annual rate of 57 deaths per 100 000 population. The highest (69.4/100 000) was in 1998, and the lowest (40.2/100 000), in 2001. Males outnumbered females, 2.6:1(95% confidence interval is from 2.13 to 3.22), and the rate shows a decline of 0.97 per year (95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 0.99). The rate of decline is the same for males and females. The highest annual rate was 14.2 per 100 000 population in the age group of 21 to 30 years, and the lowest, 2.6 per 100 000 population in elderly above 70 years of age.
The death rates depend upon sex (p<0.001) and year (p<0.049). There is no significant interaction between year and sex. This implies that the effect of year (time) is the same for men and women. These results are statistically significant inspite of the very high variability in the data S2 = 5.53.

Conclusion: The road traffic accident related deaths in Mthatha area of South Africa is 3 times higher than the global average.

Keywords: Road traffic accidents, Unnatural deaths, and Mortality

Author's affiliations

Banwari Lal Meel, Walter Sisulu University

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2008;98(9):716.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-05-26
Date published: 2008-08-04

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