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Open Access Research article

The burden of road traffic accidents in a French Departement: the description of the injuries and recent changes

Annabelle Lapostolle1*, Blandine Gadegbeku2, Amina Ndiaye2, Emmanuelle Amoros2, Mireille Chiron2, Alfred Spira1 and Bernard Laumon2

Author Affiliations

1 INSERM U822, 82 rue du Général Leclerc, Secteur bleu - porte 26, 94276 Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France

2 INRETS - UMRESTTE, 25, avenue François Mitterrand, 69675 BRON Cedex, France

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:386  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-386

Published: 13 October 2009



A significant reduction in road traffic accidents has been observed since prevention measures were introduced by the French public authorities in 2002. The goals of this study are to describe the burden of road traffic accidents in a French Departement, and to identify changes if any between the periods 1997-2001 and 2002-2006 on the basis of the disability adjusted life years (DALY).


Years of lost life (YLL) and years lived with disability (YLD) were calculated for two periods using the mortality and incidence data in the Rhone Departement Registry of Road Traffic Accident Casualties.


YLD and YLL that are related to road traffic accidents are at their maximum value between 15 and 24 years of age. For men, intracranial fractures and intracranial injuries dominate, and for women it is spinal cord injuries that account for highest rates of YLD. A reduction in the rates of YLL and YLD has been observed for both genders and all age groups between 1997-2001 and 2002-2006.


The reduction in DALY between the two periods is explained both by the reduction in the number of fatalities and injuries but also by an increase in the age at which they occur.