A recent WHO report on inadequate road safety opened with some stark figures: 1.2 million deaths and up to 50 million nonfatal injuries occur every year on the world's roads. In keeping with the aim of PLoS Medicine to prioritize studies that consider all factors that contribute substantially to morbidity and mortality worldwide, this month PLoS Medicine publishes research and magazine articles focusing on this topic. In an accompanying editorial, the PLoS Medicine editors call for better data to support policy changes that could reduce the global burden of death and injury that results from road traffic crashes.
In a research article published this week, Shankuan Zhu and colleagues, from the Medical College of Wisconsin, use computer crash simulations, as well as real-world data, to evaluate whether driver obesity is associated with greater risk of body injury in motor vehicle crashes. The authors conclude, "Obese men endured a much higher risk of injury to upper body regions during motor vehicle crashes. This higher risk might be attributed to differences in body shape, fat distribution, and center of gravity between obese and normal-weight subjects, and between men and women."
In the PLoS Medicine Magazine section, Aymery Constant and Emmanuel Lagarde discuss policies to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, from injury. The authors, from INSERM, Bordeaux, remind us "that half of the 1.2 million fatalities occurring each year on the world's roads concern vulnerable road users" and that many countermeasures still need to be enacted to prevent injury to this group. The authors argue that "only a multipronged approach will be successful — combining passive and active devices with regulations, enforcement, and awareness campaigns."
In an accompanying editorial, "Preventing Road Deaths - Time for Data", the PLoS Medicine Editors' stress the impact of inadequate road safety on global health, in both developed and low- and middle-income countries. The editors' comment that "research into the risk factors for injury from road traffic crashes, analyses of attitudes to road safety, evaluation of projects aiming to improve road safety, and alternatives to motor vehicle travel are all areas where medical researchers, statisticians, and public health professionals can contribute vital information in support of life-saving policies."
BMI and Risk of Serious Upper Body Injury Following Motor Vehicle Crashes: Concordance of Real-World and Computer-Simulated Observations by Zhu et al.
Citation: Zhu S, Kim J-E, Ma X, Shih A, Laud PW, et al. (2010) BMI and Risk of Serious Upper Body Injury Following Motor Vehicle Crashes: Concordance of Real-World and Computer-Simulated Observations. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000250. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000250
Funding: This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (grant R01EB006552-01A1, Obesity-Related Variables and Motor Vehicle Injury). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000250
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-zhu.pdf
Medical College of Wisconsin
Injury Research Center
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Protecting Vulnerable Road Users from Injury by Constant and Lagarde.
Citation: Constant A, Lagarde E (2010) Protecting Vulnerable Road Users from Injury. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000228.doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000228
Funding: This work was supported by the French National Institute for Medical research (INSERM). The funder played no role in the decision to submit the article nor in its preparation.
Competing Interests: Emmanuel Lagarde is on the Editorial Board of PLoS Medicine.
IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000228
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-lagarde.pdf
Research Center INSERM U897 "Epidémiologie et Biostatistiques"
Injury prevention and control team
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Preventing Road Deaths - Time for Data by the PLoS Medicine editors
Citation: The PLoS Medicine Editors (2010) Preventing Road Deaths—Time for Data. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000257.doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000257
Funding: The authors are each paid a salary by the Public Library of Science, and they wrote this editorial during their salaried time.
Competing Interests: The authors' individual competing interests are at http://www.plosmedicine.org/static/editorsInterests.action. PLoS is funded partly through manuscript publication charges, but the PLoS Medicine Editors are paid a fixed salary (their salary is not linked to the number of papers published in the journal).
IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000257
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-editorial.pdf
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