Health burden of serious road injuries in the Netherlands


Weijermars, W.; Bos, N.; Stipdonk, H.




The consequences of injuries in terms of disabilities and health burden are relevant for policy making. This article provides an overview of the current knowledge on this topic and discusses the health burden of serious road injuries in The Netherlands.


The overview of current knowledge on disabilities following a road crash is based on a literature review. The health burden of serious road injuries is quantified in terms of years lived with disability (YLD), by combining incidence data from the Dutch hospital discharge register with information about temporary and lifelong disability.


Literature shows that road traffic injuries can have a major impact on victims' physical and psychological well-being and functioning. Reported proportions of people with disability vary between 11 and 80% depending on the type of casualties, time elapsed since the crash, and the health impacts considered. Together, all casualties involving serious injuries in The Netherlands in 2009 account for about 38,000 YLD, compared to 25,000 years of life lost (YLL) of fatalities. Ninety percent of the burden of injury is due to lifelong consequences that are experienced by 20% of all those seriously injured in road accidents. Lower leg injuries and head injuries represent a high share in the total burden of injury as have cyclists that are injured in a crash without a motorized vehicle. Pedestrians and powered 2-wheeler users show the highest burden of injury per casualty.


Given their major impacts and contribution to health burden, road policy making should also be aimed at reducing the number of serious road injuries and limiting the resulting health impacts.


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Published in

Traffic Injury Prevention

Volume (Issue)

17 (8)