Traffic accidents

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a traffic accident?
  2. Prognosis of traffic accidents
  3. What is the fatality rate of traffic accidents?
  4. What are the main injuries?
  5. The consequences of traffic accidents in the child population.
  6. What are the main treatments for injuries caused by traffic accidents?
  7. How should we act in the event of a traffic accident?
  8. Is there a risk of accident due to illness?

What is a traffic accident?

A traffic accident is considered to be what happens as a consequence of the collision of a motor vehicle with another thing or person.

According to Order INT/2223/2014, which regulates the communication of information to the National Registry of Traffic Accident Victims, a traffic accident with victims must meet the following circumstances:

  1. Occurring on a road or land subject to traffic legislation.
  2. Resulting in the death or injury of one or more persons.
  3. Involve at least one moving vehicle.

Prognosis of traffic accidents

The consequences of traffic accidents vary widely. However, some figures can be established for recent years: since 2006, around 1.3 million people have been injured in a traffic accident in Spain, equivalent to almost 3% of the country’s population.

The severity of the injuries is also alarming:

  • Every year, there are more than 13,000 people seriously injured in Spain due to traffic accidents.
  • Injured people, on average, suffer 14 days of hospitalization and more than 200 days of rehabilitation treatment.
  • Seventy percent of those seriously injured suffer lifelong sequelae.
  • Generally, the lightly injured are injured in the neck.

What is the fatality rate of traffic accidents?

In 2021, 921 fatal accidents occurred on Spanish roads, in which 1,004 people died and another 3,728 were seriously injured. This is 9% less than in 2019 and is the second best year in the historical series.

Making a comparative analysis, the number of fatal accidents has decreased by 53%, while those seriously injured have been reduced by 60% and those slightly injured by 16%.
Towards the middle of 2021, 116 fatalities were recorded, being the month with the highest number of fatalities in the whole of last year. The summer ended with a 12% reduction in fatalities. In the third quarter, fatalities decreased by 10%.

More than half of the injuries
road traffic injuries are fractures

What are the main road traffic injuries?

According to the characteristics of the injuries of those injured and discharged from hospital, more than half of the injuries were fractures (58.5%), followed by internal injuries (17.2%). One third of the fractures occur in the extremities and overall the injuries are located mainly in the thorax (13.2%) and in the leg and ankle (11.7%).

According to the data presented by the DGT, the main injuries in seriously injured or deceased persons are to the head (75%) and to the neck in slight injuries (38%).

The consequences of traffic accidents in the child population

In the case of children, injuries vary according to the age of the injured person:

  • Under 2 years of age: generated by the disproportion of the head (in a baby it accounts for up to 30% of its total weight) and the fragility of the spine.
  • Between 2-4 years: the main injuries are to the head, as the vertebrae are not strong enough to withstand decelerations.
  • Between 4 and 10 years old: the injuries are mainly in the abdomen, as there is a higher risk of internal bleeding or abdominal injuries.
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Experts assure that 75% of child deaths and 90% of serious injuries could be avoided if the youngest children were traveling in their corresponding car seat.

What are the main treatments for road traffic injuries?

Assistance for traffic accidents is usually comprehensive, including initial assistance at the scene of the accident and referral to emergency services.

From the initial assessment and the injuries derived from it, the injured person is followed up by the corresponding specialized services according to his/her injuries, as well as, in many occasions, by the traffic units of the reference hospitals.

In the following days and months, the rehabilitation service and the physiotherapeutic treatment necessary to alleviate and/or improve the functional situation presented until the clinical stabilization of the injuries, known as sequelae, is achieved.

What should be done in the event of a traffic accident?

The action protocols seek to improve the initial care of the accident victim, with the aim of reducing response times and improving the quality of health care.

The PAS (Protect, Alert, Aid) behavior is internationally established for any type of emergency action. In an emergency situation of any kind, three steps are always necessary without altering their order:

  1. Protect yourself and the victim on the spot.
  2. Notify the emergency services.
  3. Help the victims, always bearing in mind that when in doubt it is always better not to act.

It is very important to give accurate information when calling to report a traffic accident. It is always convenient to leave a contact telephone number and any other information that is important for the emergency teams.

The information we should provide should be the location, vehicles involved, the existence of injured people and the number of people who have been present at the accident.
In addition, it can be very useful to report on the characteristics of the accident: if there are people trapped, if there is a danger of the vehicle falling, if a vehicle carrying dangerous goods is involved or if the vehicle has fallen into the water, among other aspects.

Is there a risk of accident due to illness?

We must bear in mind that personal factors can influence the risk of suffering or being involved in an accident. We highlight the increased risk due to alcohol consumption and/or neurological and/or psychiatric diseases, either due to the disease itself or the pharmacological treatments prescribed for them.

Several studies have determined the risk of having a traffic accident for drivers suffering from any disease. For example, the risk associated with vision problems is 1.09, while for alcoholism it rises to 2.