Date of Award

6-1995

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Abdulbari Bener

Second Advisor

Prof. Nelson Norman

Third Advisor

Dr. Ahmed Nabil Abou Taleb

Abstract

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with its rapid expansion of road construction and increase in the number of vehicle, road traffic accidents are becoming a serious public health problem. It was aimed to study road traffic accidents (RTA) in view of the fact that cause a substantial waste of national resources which could be used fruitfully for the improvement of health schemes and other aspects of life in UAE. It was observed that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of registered vehicles during this period. During the ten years period 1983 to 1992, the population of UAE increased at the rate of7.2% per year and the number of registered vehicles increased at the rate of 5.4% per year. Despite the enormous increase in the population there is a decline in the vehicle per capita, the total number of cars went on decreasing till 1991, but in 1992 there has been substantially an increasing trend in the number of registered vehicles. Road traffic accidents rates per 100 vehicles sharply decreased from 184.3 in 1983 to 91.9 in 1992. Also, casualty rates doubled from 27.5 in 1983 to 51.7 in 1992. Then, motor vehicle accident fatalities have gone up from 539 in 1984 to 770 in 1992 during the decade showing an average annual growth of 4.8%. UAE showing lower accident rate but higher casualty and fatality rates. In addition, the population, number of registered cars, accidents, casualties and fatalities in the seven Emirates were reviewed. Overall, results showed a decrease in accidents at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Emirates. But there were increase in injuries and fatalities at the Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras AI Khaimah and Fujairah Emirates. It was observed that 1.4% of the accidents, 16.2% of the casualties and 14.8% of the fatalities were pedestrians their age less than 11 years of age. The findings of this study into the road safety in the UAE and other Gulf countries indicate that fatality rates (per 100 accident and per licensed vehicle) are high in comparison with those in developed countries.

A descriptive study was carried out using available data and records of Accident Emergency Department of Al-Ain Hospital in Al-Ain, UAE. The study presents the results of a all patients with road traffic accidents (RTA) injuries that attended the Accident Emergency Department of Al-Ain Hospital, Al-Ain, UAE for the period 1 January - 31 December 1993. The AI-Ain Hospital recorded a total of 1383 road traffic accidents (RTA) casualties with 63 deaths during year 1993. The road traffic accident rate was 461 per 100,000 population and the death was 21 per 100,000. Three-fourths of all were under 35 years of age (77%). The great majority of the victims (84%) were males. UAE nationals comprised 29% while those of other Arabs 36% and Asian origin formed 35% respectively. It is noteworthy that 44% suffered from head & neck injuries. Most of the casualties occurred between 8.00am to 2.00pm The main single cause for these R TA was excessive speeding. The injuries produced a severe strain on the manpower.

Also, this study describes the magnitude of this problem and studies some aspects of road user behaviour in UAE. Road injuries, besides being a major health hazard lead to a high rate of morbidity, impact on the victims, his family, and the nation as a whole. The magnitude of the problem could be greatly reduced if appropriate measures were taken concerning road user behaviour. Some factors which influence driver behaviour are presented and discussed.

Additionally, a cross sectional study was carried out between November 1993 and June 1994 to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of hospitalized drivers involved in road traffic accidents regarding seat belt usage in U.A.E. During this period, a total of 1000 vehicle drivers were seen and treated in the Accident and Emergency Departments of two general hospitals (Tawam and Al-Ain Hospitals). A total of 787 (78.7%) drivers gave responded response for the study. This study demonstrated that the rate of constant seat belt usage among drivers was 9.4%, and the rate of frequent seat belt usage was 5.2%. There was statistically significant difference between seat belt usage versus non usage by age groups (p=0.007) and nationality(p=0.001). However, there was no significant statistical differences between seat belt usage versus non usage by sex, and marital status. There were statistically significant difference between user and non-users of seat belts concerning their educational level (p<0.002) and occupation (p<0.02). The results demonstrated a reduction in the number of injuries due to usage of seat belts. Those patients who were not wearing seat belts were at risk 5.84 times as often as drivers who were restrained by belts. There were statistically significant differences between number of persons injured wearing and not wearing seat belts for head injury [Odds ratio (OR)=1.74; Confidence Interval (CI)= 1.18-2.56 ,and p=0.003], neck injury [OR=1.73; (CI)= 0.99-3.04 ,and p=0.04], spinal injury [OR=4.64; (CI)= 2.30-9.47 and p<0.0001], limbs injury [OR=2.11; (CI)= 1.45-3.08 ,and p<0. 0001]. But, we did not find statistically significant differences between number of person injured in chest, abdomen and pelvis by wearing or not wearing seat belts [OR=0.62; (CI)= 0.34-1.14 ,and p<0.101]. It was observed that the majority of patients stated that seat belts are the best protective measure against all injuries (66%) and severe injuries (26%) of road traffic accidents. Also, there was very strong support for the mandatory use of safety seat belts (53%). We may suggest that these data are encouraging, and would suggest general acceptance of seat belt legislation in the United Arab Emirates.

In the UAE, as in other GCC countries, RTA poses a major health problem. It is the second major cause mortality, after coronary heart disease in the UAE. Information concerning RIA is therefore valuable in taking appropriate measures to reduce their incidence and also to plan health services in the area. The result of this study would provide vital results and essential statistical information for health education, safety education, planning programming managing and evaluating anti-motor vehicle accidents activities aiming at significantly reducing the road traffic accidents and hazards.

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