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Studies indicate that the major victims of road driving are the young people. In fact, age, gender and inexperience are among the factors putting at higher risks of driving injuries. For instance, due to the age, young people are incapable of effectively estimating their capabilities and often test their limits above other individuals.
Dodge (2011) argues that the underdevelopment of the children brains accounts for their inability to estimate their driving capabilities. Further, the parts of the brain tasked with making of choices are still undergoing development thereby influencing behavior when driving.
Moreover, invariable judgment about driving actions often distracts young inexperienced drivers. In terms of sexual orientation, the males are more exposed to the risks of road injuries due to thrill and impression seeking actions, driving at excessive speeds as well as failure to use seatbelts.
Injuries from road traffic account for larger proportion of the cause of deaths amongst young people worldwide. Precisely, approximately four hundred thousand people under the age of twenty-five years die annually due to road injuries.
Hanson, Vardon, McFarlane, Lloyd, Muller, Durrheim (2010) studied the trends of deaths caused by accidents in young people and reported that a large percentage of the deaths take place among young cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers. The traffic injuries are avertable. In fact, several interventions have proved invaluable in addressing the hazard aspects as well as diminishing the rates of driving injuries.
In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a number of interventions that are significant in reducing driving injuries during the United Nations Global Road Safety Week. For instance, separation of various types of road users, reduction of driving speed and not driving when drunk as well as carrying out graduated licensing schemes for apprentice drivers are essential for the reduction of driving injuries.
Epidemiology of driving injuries among young people
Among the driving injuries experienced worldwide among young people, alcohol is considered as a major contributor of road collisions and fatalities. In fact, studies assert that high blood alcohol concentrations pose greater risks of crashing.
Hingson and Heeren (2010) argue that large proportions of young male drivers between the ages twenty-two to forty-five often drink alcohol before driving which increases the likelihood of fatal crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), forty-one percent of road accidents arise from alcohol-related crashes.
Levenson, Hingson and Heeren (2010) shows that age is essential in determining the amount of blood alcohol concentration in the body. National Roadside Survey and NHTSA data show that young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 have the highest contents of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
For example, the male drivers between the ages of sixteen and twenty whose BAC is over 0.15 accounts for approximately 15, 550 individuals compared to their female counterparts accounting for estimated seven hundred and forty people.
Information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicates significant fluctuations in driving injuries across sexual orientations, age and inexperience. Rivara and MacKenzie (2012) studied gender variation concerning risk exposure of young people to accident and reported that males are exposed to higher risks of traffic accidents.
For instance, in 2012, males accounted for approximately eighty percent of the traffic deaths. In addition, men account for forty-six percent of alcohol related crashes compared to thirty percent traffic related deaths accounted for by females. On age, young and middle-aged adults are the most involved in road accidents.
For example, people aged between the ages sixteen and twenty-nine make up fifty-five percent of traffic deaths compared to seven percent of individuals with over sixty-five years.
Klassen, MacKay and Moher (2010) assert that speeding is also a significant cause of injuries among young drivers. Actually, 40% of drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes had high BAC of 0ver 0.15 percent. In addition, young drivers often fail to wear safety seatbelts increasing their risks to road crashes and injuries. According to NHTSA (2003), greater proportions young drivers who endured road crashes wore safety belts.
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Young drivers convicted of drinking and driving require assessments on alcohol abuse or dependence as well as attend alcohol treatment. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), management of convicted drinking and driving offender trims down the repletion of the offence by approximately 10%.
Further, O’Malley and Wagenaar (2009) argue that to reduce injuries from alcohol related accidents, legal drinking ages should be enforced at a minimum of twenty-one years to prevent young people from excessive drinking. Setting BAC limits and impounding driving licenses of traffic offenders are essential.
Current preventive strategies
Various preventive measures are currently in place to mitigate accident related injuries. However, it is critical to understand which preventive strategy is more effective. Wallace (2012) studied the current and previous accident preventive measures and concluded that the outcome of any program on accident reduction depends on the effectiveness of protective measures put in place.
Gielen and Sleet (2013) also studied several strategies that are currently in place to prevent injuries on young people. According to Gielen and Sleet (2013) study, the trends indicate that despite the preventive measures, the likelihood for young people involved in injuries is increasing.
The injuries preventive strategies include mandatory child restraint use laws, which involve various recommended implementations including enforcement by the police. The strategy is strongly recommended particularly when the police are involved in its enforceability.
Mandatory child restraint use laws also include the application of seat belts. The recommendations are that when safety seats are properly installed and used appropriately the risk of injuries are reduced by over 70% in infants while children above the age of one, the reduction rate is over 54%. The preventive measures have proved to be effective particularly where enforcement is operational.
Besides the child restraint use laws strategies, other strategies such as the use of seat belts, alcohol-impaired driving, nighttime driving restrictive curfew and mandatory helmet use laws to prevent motorbike injuries have been in practice to prevent injuries related to accidents on young people.
However, according to Zaza and Thompson (2011), the strategies have various limitations including enforceability and implementations. In most cases, the strategies are to be implemented by the police who often have limited capacity. In addition, the strategies have a limited target. For instance, the mandatory child restraint use laws only targets the child safety seats.
However, Wagenaar, Murray, and Geban (2010) argue that the preventive measures are not exhaustive. New strategies need to be in place to prevent further injuries on young people. In fact, the new strategies should be innovative, easily understood and applied. In addition, the new strategies should be effective particularly where young people are involved.
Goals and objectives
The major goal of the current interventions is to reduce injuries related to motor vehicle accidents on young people by over 80%. However, each intervention has specific goals. For instance, the alcohol-impaired driving main objective is to reduce the number of adults driving while carrying young people as well as preventing driving while drunk.
As Shults, Elder and Sleet (2011) indicated, the number of alcohol related accidents have considerably increased among young people. The collective objectives are to reduce the probability of young people being involved in injuries related to motor vehicle accidents. The current interventions, limitations, goals and objectives are summarized in the table below
|Mandatory child restraint use laws||Limited police enforceability||To reduce the risks associated with Moto vehicle safety seats|
|Community wide enforcement campaigns||Can only be applied during certain times of the year||To enhance public awareness on the injuries related to accidents|
|Random breath testing sobriety checkpoints||Limited police enforceability||To reduce alcohol related crashes and deaths by between 17-25%|
|Zero Tolerance Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)||Possibility of increasing the set limits. Lack of strict enforceability||Reduces accident related injuries on young people under the age of 21|
|Nighttime driving restriction curfew laws||Applied spatially with some exceptions allowed||To avoid injuries resulting from night time crashes. In addition, to discourage nighttime teens driving|
The rationale for the current interventions
As indicated the current intervention are not exhaustive in terms of preventing the injuries. However, most of the interventions have been proven effective in preventive processes. The main justification for the current interventions is to put in place control measures that are deemed useful in reducing injuries. In addition, the control measures must be enforceable and implemented.
Baker, Braver, Chen and Williams (2012) indicated that the enforceability and implementation could only succeed when the measures have legal framework through various legislations. In other words, the effectiveness of any intervention depends on its enforceability based on a given legal framework.
The proposed current intervention
The current interventions address injuries that are not intended. The reason is that unintentional injuries have been in existence. As such, the preventive measures have also been formulated. However, the interventions only address the injuries that occur within the vehicle when an accident occurs.
According to Emery (2013), the environmental interventions have not been addressed in most of the current injury related to accident strategies. The proposed interventions tend to focus on environmental modifications to prevent young pedestrians from injuries related to roadside accidents.
The first strategy is to install streetlights on the sidewalks to increase visibility. The streetlights should also be combined with traffic lights indicating areas where crossings are allowed. In addition, the crossings should be clearly marked with warnings provided in advance for approaching drivers to slow down.
The other environmental modification interventions is establishing speed limit in areas near playing grounds as well as schools. The environmental modification prevention strategies would be critical in preventing injuries that would have been caused by the drivers’ negligence and the children inability to understand the environment.
In fact, the environmental related prevention measures have not been critically looked at and in cases where such interventions are available the target are not young children. The proposed environmental modification strategies are summarized below.
|Maximum speed limit near playing ground||Should be enforced by the police as well as other stakeholders||Reduce the possibilities of the accidents by 56%|
|The assumed child prior knowledge||should be included on the driving training manual and enforced by the police||Expected to reduce the possibility of having injuries due assumption of pre-knowledge of the child by 25-30%|
As indicated, the major cause of accident related injuries on young people in alcohol. The current preventive measures are focused on measures to reduce alcohol related accidents. In addition, O’Malley and Wagenaar (2009) argue that Young drivers convicted of drinking and driving require assessments on alcohol abuse or dependence as well as attend alcohol treatment.
To reduce such offenses, security personnel in charge of traffics should increase their enforceability capabilities. In addition, increased management of convicted drinking and driving offender would help in trimming down the repletion of the offence.
O’Malley and Wagenaar (2009) further argue that to reduce injuries from alcohol related accidents, legal drinking ages should be enforced at a minimum of twenty-one years to prevent young people from excessive drinking. Setting BAC limits and impounding driving licenses of traffic offenders are essential.
Further, environmental modification interventions are found to be lacking in the current strategies. Hingson and Heeren (2010) argue that environmental modification prevention strategies would be critical in preventing injuries caused by the drivers’ negligence and the children inability to understand the environment.
In fact, the environmental related prevention measures have not been looked at critically and in cases where such interventions are available the target are not young children.
As indicated, young people are the major victims of road driving. In fact, age, gender and inexperience are among the factors putting at higher risks of driving injuries. In addition, alcoholism is cited as the major contributor to the cause of accidents among the youth.
However, the current strategies are not exhaustive in preventing injuries resulting from accidents. Therefore, novel and innovative strategies are still needed in the prevention and reduction of injuries.
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