Road traffic accidents have become a serious public health problem. According to estimates drawn up by the World Health Organization (WHO), they will jump from seventh place in the cause-of-death table in 1990 to third place in 2020, and as far back as 1990 were already the main cause of death among males aged between 15 and 40. The scale of the problem, however, has not been systematically quantified.
This book takes on the difficult task of quantifying the impact of traffic accidents on the health of the Spanish population, with 1996-2004 as its reference period.
A number of its conclusions bear special mention. The first is the extreme significance of non- fatal accidents, which account for some 20% of total losses. The second is that total losses due to fatal accidents are equivalent to the destruction of a town the size of Soria or Teruel. Although the availability of data has conditioned the study’s methodology, it provides a useful template for estimating health losses due to other kinds of accident or disease, in order to catalogue the disease burden of Spain.
The book will be of interest to researchers in health economics and public health analysts, as well as to the authorities in charge of planning preventive measures, who will find it a useful tool for assessing their benefit not just in the specific case of road traffic accidents but also for any major health problem.