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Analysis of traffic accidents in Romania, 2009

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Analysis of Traffic Accidents in Romania, 2009

GEOVANA CĂLINOIU1, DANA GALIETA MINCA2, FLORENTINA LIGIA FURTUNESCU2


1
“N. Kretzulescu” Medical Center for Diagnosis and Ambulatory Treatment, Bucharest
2
“Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Department of Public Health and Management

Abstract. This paper aimed to underline the main consequences of traffic accidents in
Romania 2009 and their associated causes or circumstances. We identified some problematic
geographic areas, some critical months or moments of the day and also the most frequent causes; all
these should become targets for the future planning. The current analysis provides some priority
criteria for public health interventions. So, the future national road safety strategy should be in line
with the EU objectives, but also with the national priorities.
Background. Romania is far away from the average EU target for 2010 of halving the death
by traffic accidents registered in 2001.
Aim. To describe the circumstances and the consequences related to traffic accidents registered
in Romania, for the year 2009.
Methods. An ecological study was conducted. The traffic accidents circumstances were
analyzed in terms of magnitude, geographic space, time and cause. The consequences were analyzed
as affected people and damaged cars.
Results. A total of 28,627 traffic accidents were registered in Romania during the year 2009.
2,796 people were killed and 27,968 were hospitalized and 42,443 cars were damaged. 3 of 4
accidents were caused by violations on behalf of the car drivers. Most common violations in car
drivers were excess of speed and priority violations (52.4%). Among the pedestrians, 7 of 10
accidents were caused by illegal crossing. A higher number of accidents occurred during the summer
months and during the evening hours (from 5.00 pm till 8.00 pm).
Conclusions. The traffic accidents represent a real public health problem in Romania and a
serious burden for the health system. The gap between Romania and the other EU member states
needs to be diminished in the next decade. In this purpose, the future national road safety strategy
should be in line with the EU objectives, but also with the national priorities. Research is needed to
understand the causes and the socio-economical impact of traffic accidents and to define appropriate
national objectives.
Key words: road safety, traffic accidents, public health.

BACKGROUND the overall number of road deaths in the European


Union by 2020 starting from 2010 [6]. At national
Road safety has been recognized as a very level, Romania had some strategic directions for
important public health problem in EU since many road safety, but these were not included in a global
years. In 2001 it was assumed by EU to halve the strategy in the past. A project of national safety
road deaths till the year 2010 (from 54,300 to road strategy was proposed for public debate recently,
27,100 for EU 27) [1, 2]. An ex-post evaluation of following the EU model [7].
this target showed that a decline in fatalities was Methods. An ecological study was conducted,
achieved, but it was lower than expected (a reduction using three official databases: the Road Police
of only 35%, instead of 46%, in 2009, meaning Department information system, the statistics related
5,300 deaths less than expected) [3, 4]. Romania is to public roads from the National Institute of
far away from the average EU target, reaching in Statistics and Economic Studies and the number of
2008 and 2009 more traffic accidents than in 2001 deaths by cause (ICD 10) provided by the National
(25% and 14% more, respectively) [5]. A new Institute of Public Health – Center for Statistics [8–
strategy was promoted at EU level for the current 10]. The traffic accidents circumstances were
decade, having as goal to create a common road analyzed in terms of magnitude, geographic space
safety area and a new target was defined: to halve (place, type of road and weather), time (month of

ROM. J. INTERN. MED., 2012, 50, 1, 93–101


94 Geovana Călinoiu et al. 2

the year, moment of the day) and way of happening. Snowing, iced or slimed roads were associated in
The consequences were analyzed as number of less than 5% of the accidents.
affected people (deaths, injured, hospitalizations)
Distribution in time
and number of cars involved. The number of
The maximum number of accidents was
accidents was expressed as rate per 100000 in-
registered during the summer season (from May to
habitants and per 100 square kilometers of public
September), with a peak during July and August
road. The indicators were calculated overall and by (Fig. 4). These could be probably related to a more
county. Counties were classified using quartiles. intensive traffic (national and international), during
these months, corresponding to the summer holidays.
RESULTS Analysis by time of the day showed a maxi-
mum frequency of accidents during the evening
time (from 5.00 p.m. till 7.00 p.m) and a minimum
Magnitude of the problem one from 0.00 to 5 a.m., probably related also to
A total of 28,627 traffic accidents were registered the intensity of traffic at the end of the working day
in Romania during the year 2009, from which 35% (Fig. 5).
were classified as severe. Globally the higher number Way of happening
of traffic accidents was registered in Bucharest Main cause was related to the car driver in
(4331), followed by Constanţa, Prahova, Iaşi and 72.4% of cases and related to pedestrians, cyclists
Suceava (each with more than 1000 accidents per or cart drivers in 21.2%, 4.3% and 2.1% respectively.
year). Among causes related to pedestrians, the most
In relation to population, Romania accounted frequent was illegal crossing (69.9%), followed by
133.3 accidents per 100000 inhabitants and 35 ac- accidents in unsurveilled children under 14 years of
cidents per 100 kilometers of public road. The age (16.6%) and walking on the road (10.3%).
highest rates in population were registered in Ilfov Most frequent causes related to the car driver were
County (surrounding Bucharest), Bucharest, Constanţa overspeed and violation of car or pedestrians
(near the Black Sea Coast), Calaraşi and Vâlcea priority (Table I).
(Fig. 1).
Most safe counties were those from the fourth Consequences
quartile, especially Vaslui, Satu Mare, Dolj, Covasna 2,796 people were killed in Romania in 2009
and Brăila. due to a traffic accident and 35,527 suffered an
The highest number of accidents per 100 kilo- injury, from which 25.6% were seriously affected.
meters of road was registered in Bucharest, Ilfov, Most deaths occurred in Bucharest, Suceava,
Braşov, Prahova and Constanţa (Fig. 2, Bucharest Constanţa, Timiş and Braşov (Fig. 6). Most injured
excluded, with very high value). people were registered in Bucharest, Constanţa,
Prahova, Iaşi and Ilfov (Fig. 7). Suceava, Braşov
Geographic space and Timiş are placed also above the first quartile.
82.5% of the traffic accidents happened within Most severe injured people were found in
the cities or villages area and 17.5% outside these. Bucharest, Prahova, Iaşi, Cluj and Braşov (Fig. 8).
According to the road type, half of them happened 27.968 persons were hospitalized in 2009 as a
in the streets (50.4%) and 28.6%, 15.0% and 4.4% consequence of a road accident, from which 69.1%
of them happened on national, county and communal were males. They accounted 189,539 hospitalization
roads respectively (Fig. 3). days, having an average length of stay of 6.77 days.
Very few from all accidents happened on Most frequent diagnoses were related to car passen-
motorways (0.35%, Romania having the lowest gers, followed by pedestrians, and most important
length of motorway in EU). 95.3% of the accidents burden in term of hospitalization days was induced
happened on modernized (asphalted) roads. by pedestrians, followed by car occupants (Table II).
Most majority of the accidents happened on No significant differences were registered in
normal weather (89.5%), 6.9% and 2.2% were average length of stay by cause.
associated with raining or snowing weather res- 42,344 cars were damaged in 2009 due to
pectively. The road was dry in 79% of the cases, traffic accidents. Most of them were accounted in
but under wet conditions in 15.2% of the cases. the same counties as previously (Fig. 9).
3 Analysis of traffic accidents in Romania, 2009 95

Figure 1.

Figure 2.
96 Geovana Călinoiu et al. 4

Figure 3. Distribution by the road type.

Figure 4.
5 Analysis of traffic accidents in Romania, 2009 97

Figure 5.

90.75
no.

Figure 6.
98 Geovana Călinoiu et al. 6
no.

488.75

Figure 7.

Severe injured people by county

262.75
no.

190.5
129.25

Figure 8.
7 Analysis of traffic accidents in Romania, 2009 99
no.

549.5

Figure 9.

Table 1
Accidents attributable to the driver, by cause
Accidents
Main cause
no %
Overspeed 4633 22.4%
Car priority violations 3544 17.1%
Pedestrian priority violations 2685 13.0%
Risky driving 2127 10.3%
Intercar distance violations 1500 7.2%
Unsafe change of traffic line 1433 6.9%
Cyclists mystakes 1222 5.9%
Illegal overtaking 1095 5.3%
Alcohol intake 807 3.9%
Others 1671 8.1%
Total 20717 100.0%

Table 2
Hospitalization by cause (ICD 10)
Cases Hospitalisation days Average
Cause (ICD 10)
no. % no. % length of stay
V01 - V09 6894 24.65% 54218 28.61% 7.9
V10 - V19 3767 13.47% 20016 10.56% 5.3
V20 - V29 2725 9.74% 19091 10.07% 7.0
V30 -V39 361 1.29% 3486 1.84% 9.7
V40 - V49 7449 26.63% 49291 26.01% 6.6
V50 - V59 191 0.68% 1314 0.69% 6.9
V60 - V69 191 0.68% 1267 0.67% 6.6
V70 - V79 156 0.56% 1005 0.53% 6.4
V80 - V89 6234 22.29% 39851 21.03% 6.4
Total 27968 100.00% 189539 100.00% 6.8

DISCUSSION interventions. A total of 28,627 traffic accidents


were registered in Romania in 2009, from which
Our study aimed to underline the main con- one third were severe. We identified some pro-
sequences of traffic accidents and their associated blematic geographic areas, some critical months or
causes or circumstances. The main difficulty in moments of the day and also the most frequent
achieving our aim consisted in identifying reliable causes; all these should become targets for the future
data to analyze and especially in combining different planning. The counties above the first quartile as
information systems. However, the current analysis number of accidents, deaths, injured people or
provides some priority criteria for public health damaged cars were almost the same, but the
100 Geovana Călinoiu et al. 8

maximum concentration was registered in the current system is registering the discharge from
capital and surrounding areas. 4 of 5 accidents hospitals, but any other information about additional
occurred inside the cities or villages, so more focus homecare is not available, being practically impossible
should be directed to traffic discipline inside the to have an overview on medical consequences at
habited areas. 3 of 4 accidents were caused by national level. Also the hospitalization reflects
violations on behalf of the car drivers and 1 of 4 by mostly the acute care, but neither the long term
pedestrians, cyclists or cart drivers. In car drivers, care, nor the recovery therapy. This is the reason
three main violations occurred in half of the for which the length of stay is quite homogeneous
accidents: excess of speed and priority violations by cause, being influenced by the regulations on
optimum length of stay at national level.
related to other car or to pedestrians. Causes for
these violations should be further exploration. This
may conduct to the need for better regulation, or CONCLUSIONS
for the enforcement of the road rules or even for a
better training for drivers. All these objectives are
The traffic accidents represent a real public
consistent with the EU policy orientation for road
health problem in Romania and a serious burden
safety [6]. Among the pedestrians’ violations, 7 of for the health system, causing 2,796 deaths and
10 accidents were caused by illegal crossing, which 27,968 hospitalizations, accounting for 189,539
needs enforcement measures to be avoided. hospitalization days. Compared to other EU
9 of 10 accidents happened on normal weather members, Romania was much behind the EU target
and 8 of 10 on roads in dry condition. So much for 2010 (to halve the traffic accidents accounted in
from the accidents burden could be influenced only 2001). This gap needs to be diminished in the next
by respecting the rules. A higher number of decade, in which, a similar, ambitious target was
accidents occurred during the summer months and proposed by EU till 2020. For this purpose, the
during the evening hours (from 5.00 pm till future national road safety strategy should be in
8.00 pm) so a more active concentration of traffic line with the EU objectives, but also with the
surveillance is needed then. national priorities. Research is needed to under-
Most difficult was to have an overview on stand the causes and the socio-economical impact
medical consequences of the traffic accidents. The of traffic accidents and to define appropriate
national objectives.

Context. România este departe de ţinta Uniunii Europene pentru 2010, de


reducere la jumătate a numărului deceselor prin accidente rutiere înregistrate în
2001.
Scop. Descrierea circumstanţelor şi a consecinţelor legate de accidente
rutiere înregistrate în România, în anul 2009.
Metodologie. S-a realizat un studiu ecologic. Circumstanţele accidentelor de
circulaţie au fost analizate în funcţie de amploare, areal geografic, timp şi cauză.
Consecinţele au fost analizate prin numărul persoanelor afectate şi cel al
maşinilor avariate.
Rezultate. Un total de 28.627 de accidente rutiere s-au înregistrat în cursul
anului 2009 în România. 2.796 de persoane au decedat, 27.968 au fost spitalizate
şi 42.443 maşini au fost avariate. 3 din 4 accidente au fost cauzate de încălcări ale
legislaţiei din partea conducătorilor auto. Cele mai frecvente abateri ale
conducătorilor auto au fost excesul de viteză şi nerespectarea priorităţii (52,4%).
În ceea ce priveşte abaterile înregistrate în rândul pietonilor, 7 din 10 accidente au
fost cauzate de traverarea neregulamentară. Un număr mai mare de accidente s-a
înregistrat în lunile de vară şi în orele de seară (de la 17:00 până la 20:00).
Concluzii. Accidentele rutiere reprezintă o adevărată problemă de sănătate
publică în România şi o povară serioasă pentru sistemul de sănătate. Diferenţa
dintre România şi alte state membre UE trebuie să fie diminuată în următorul
9 Analysis of traffic accidents in Romania, 2009 101

deceniu. În acest scop, viitoarea strategie naţională de siguranţă rutieră ar trebui


să fie în concordanţă cu obiectivele UE, dar şi cu priorităţile naţionale. Cercetarea
este necesară pentru a înţelege cauzele şi impactul socio-economic al accidentelor
de trafic şi pentru a defini obiective naţionale corespunzătoare.

Corresponding address: Geovana Călinoiu,


“N. Kretzulescu” Medical Center for Diagnosis and Ambulatory Treatment, Bucharest
E-mail: gcalinoiu@yahoo.com
florentina.furtunescu@umf.ro

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Received January 10, 2012

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