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Accid Anal Prev. 2010 Jul;42(4):1048-56. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.12.012. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

The probability of death in road traffic accidents. How important is a quick medical response?

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Dpt. Quantitative Economics, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain


The number of deaths in road traffic accidents in Spain exceeds three thousand people each year. Public authorities have implemented some policies with the aim to reducing this number. Among them, the improvement of road quality standards and some legal changes encouraging careful driving behavior. However, less attention has been focused on one of the issues that may be critical to reducing the number of fatalities caused by traffic accidents: a quick emergency medical care. In this paper, we use a sample of more than 1400 accidents occurred on Spanish roads in May 2004. Our objective is to analyze to which extent a reduction of the time interval between the crash and the arrival of the emergency services to the crash scene is related to a lower probability of death. Our results suggest that a 10 min reduction of the medical response time can be statistically associated with an average decrease of the probability of death by one third, both on motorways and conventional roads.

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