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Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2012 Jan;6(1):31-41.

Epidemiology of road traffic injuries in qassim region, saudi arabia: consistency of police and health data.



In Saudi Arabia, road traffic accidents (RTA) are becoming a serious public health problem. Police reports are designed for legal purposes with very little information on the health consequences. Also, health system data include detailed health information, but not related or linked to the data obtained police reports. Examining the consistency of these sources is vital to build an accurate surveillance system that can track the risk factors and the health consequences, as well as establishing and evaluating prevention interventions.


This study is intended to: ▪ Examine the consistency of health -registration data with the data gathered by the traffic police department.▪ Elucidate the magnitude, risk factors and outcome of RTI in Qassim region of Saudi Arabia,▪ Compare the pattern of accidents in Qassim with those at different regions of the Kingdom.


Health care information was collected on visits of victims of road traffic accidents to emergency and outpatients' departments of the major hospitals in Qassim region during the year 2010. The information included the patients' demographics, and clinical characteristics. Traffic Police Department information was also collected on all accidents that occurred in the study region. A Questionnaire was also developed and pilot tested to collect data from a random sample of population attending hospital outpatient and Primary Health Care clinics. Data included previous involvement in road traffic accident, and information about any injury; fatality or disability due to these RTI.


During the study period, road traffic death rate based on death registration data was almost twice as high as the rate reported by the police (P < 0.05). There was also a significant decline of 27% according to police-reported data during the study period, as opposed to a non-significant increase of 8% according to health registration data during the same period. Population Survey Information showed the overall age-sex-adjusted rate for non-fatal RTI was 20.7 (95% CI, 20.0 - 21.3)/100 persons/year. The rate for non-fatal RTI is higher in the 10-19 years age group (17.3%). Males had twice or more incidence rate for RTI requiring recovery period of ≤ 7 days as compared with females, however, RTI incidence for recovery period of >7 days is more than twice in females.. Also a total of 12 deaths due to RTI were reported in 5-49 years age group in the last 3 years, representing an estimated annual RTI mortality rate of 35.4/100,000 (95% CI 16.6 - 57.8). A total of 11 participants reported RTI related disability in the last 3 years representing an estimated annual RTI disability rate of 34.1/100,000 population (95% CI 11.4 - 55.7). Reports of the Traffic Police Department showed that 18623 accidents occurred throughout the year 2010. These accidents involved 23178 persons, and resulted in the injury of 2025 people and the deaths of 369. In contrast, the health system reports showed that 4232 people had been injured and 1054 had died. Comparison with local & Arab Rates showed that Qassim is among the highest 5 regions in the kingdom regarding the number of RTA Saudi Arabia is also having a very high level of road traffic accidents and fatalities compared to other Arab countries.


RTI are responsible for significant loss of life, disability and injury in Qassim population and in Saudi Arabia. The inconsistency between police-reported data and health system data strongly suggests that active efforts to audit and monitor data quality are clearly necessary.


Epidemiology; KSA; Qassim; RTA

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