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Traffic Inj Prev. 2006 Dec;7(4):400-2.

Field data: distributions and costs of road-traffic fatalities in South Africa.

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Health Economics Group, School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.



Road-traffic crashes and fatalities constitute major social and economic issues in South Africa. They are a major cause of morbidity and mortality comparable to HIV/AIDS, homicides, and some chronic diseases.


Road-traffic accident data for the year 2003 obtained from the Department of Transport, Pretoria, South Africa were used for this study. The valuation of the costs of road-traffic crashes and fatalities in South Africa is based on the gross output or human capital approach.


10,197 fatal road crashes and 12,353 fatalities were reported during the study period. More than 50% of the fatal road crashes and fatalities occurred in only three out of 11 provinces. The Northern Cape, which is the least populated province, had the highest fatal road crashes per 100,000 population and fatalities per 100,000 population. The number of road-traffic fatalities in the rural areas was 2.7 times that in the urban areas. The total costs of the road-traffic fatalities which was about R 8 billion (>US$ 1 billion) is about 0.6% of the country's nominal GDP for 2003. 60% of the cases and costs of road-traffic fatalities involved persons aged 20-39 years, although this age group is only 27% of the country's population. The rural areas accounted for 73% and the urban areas 27% of the total costs of fatal road-traffic crashes.


Those living in the rural areas of the South African society and those aged 20-49 years constitute high-risk groups of road-traffic crashes and fatalities. They are also responsible for most of the attendant costs of fatal crashes and fatalities in the country.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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