Epidemiology of traffic injuries before, during and 1 year after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions: National findings from the Saudi Red Crescent Authority
Yousef M Alsofayan1, Suliman A Alghnam2, Ahmad M Alkhorisi3, Hani A Almalki4, Majed D Alsaihani5, Monerah A Almazroa1, Abdullah K Alharbi6, Roaa M Hajjam7, Fahad S Alhajjaj8, Jalal M Alowais9
1 Executive Directorate of Medical Affairs, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University For Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Operation Center, Public Health Agency, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Public Health, Preventive Medicine Administration, Ministry of Health, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of Risk Management, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
6 Executive Directorate of Operational Affairs, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
7 Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
8 Department of Emergency Medicine, Unaizah College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
9 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Yousef M Alsofayan
Executive Directorate of Medical Affairs, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Riyadh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Road traffic injuries are a leading cause of death in Saudi Arabia. Studies have examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on traffic injuries treated in healthcare institutions, but its impact on patients seeking emergency medical transport for traffic injuries remains unclear.
Objective: This study aimed to determine changes in traffic injuries' distribution and outcomes among patients seeking emergency medical transport before, during, and after the COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This is a nationwide retrospective study of all injuries reported to the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) between January 1st, 2020, and May 31st, 2021. The cases in the study were categorized based on the following three time periods: (1) Pre-restriction (January 1 to March 23, 2020), (2) restriction (March 24 to June 21, 2020), and (3) post-restriction (June 22, 2020, to May 31, 2021).
Results: A total of 142,763 cases of traffic-related injuries were recorded at the SRCA during the study period: pre-restriction, 27,811 (19.5%); restriction, 14,414 (10.1%); post-restriction, 100,538 (70.4%). Males accounted for most cases throughout the study period, but a significant increase in the number of females was observed in the post-restriction period compared with the first two timeframes (12.2% vs. 3.4% and 3.4%, respectively; P < 0.01). During the restriction period, the rate of mortality was the highest, and rollover crashes were significantly higher (18.2% vs. 14.0% and 14.6%; P < 0.01). Overall, pedestrians were almost three times more likely to die following injuries than occupants or drivers (OR = 2.7).
Conclusions: Further prevention programs to reduce traffic injuries are needed to improve traffic safety and improve population health.