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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2003 Mar;62(1):61-74.

The Harstad Injury Prevention Study. A decade of community-based traffic injury prevention with emphasis on children. Postal dissemination of local injury data can be effective.

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Harstad Hospital and Institute for Community Health, University of Tromsø, Norway.



To evaluate the outcome of a community-based program for reducing traffic injury rates with special focus on children and to assess the impact of a Traffic Injury Report (TIR) in terms of awareness and attitudes about safety issues.


The Norwegian cities Harstad (23 000) and Trondheim (140 000), during ten years.


The outcome was evaluated using hospital-based injury recording. Sustainability of the prevention program was promoted by disseminating information on the community's traffic injury profile. Reports containing information about traffic injuries were distributed quarterly to all Harstad households, containing victim stories and statistics on medical data and the location of the accidents. The impact of the reports was evaluated, using a questionnaire mailed to persons 18-80 years old.


From the first two years (mean rate 116.1/10,000 person years), to last two years, a significant 59% [confidence interval (CI): 42% to 71%] reduction of traffic injury rates was observed for Harstad children. Overall rates for all ages decreased 37% [CI:47% to 24%] in Harstad increased by 3% [CI:-4% to 10%] in Trondheim (reference city). Significantly higher scores were found in Harstad compared to Trondheim concerning the awareness of, and positive attitudes towards, safety issues (e.g. alcohol and driving, speeding and children's safety in traffic). 56.0% of respondents in Harstad reported having acquired information, or good advice, about traffic safety from the reports.


Traffic injuries in children can be prevented by community-based interventions. Distributing written information may enhance the program's sustainability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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