On July 20, 2012, Dr. MYSSAYEV Ayan (Assistant Professor, Semey State Medical University, RCAPS Visiting Research Fellow) was invited to present an RCAPS Seminar entitled “Road Traffic Mortality in Semey Area, Kazakhstan: It's Time for Action”.
Dr. Myssayev began his presentation by pointing to the fact that road traffic death is among the highest causes of death in the world. The projection made by the World Health Organization (WHO) of global mortality in 2030 showed that malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS will decrease, but road traffic accidents will keep on rising, and will disproportionately affect the working population in low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs).
Dr. Myssayev explained that to curb the problem of road traffic deaths, starting in 2008 Kazakhstan instituted a “Penalty Parts System” which seeks to impose punishment to drivers guilty of road offences. The procedures are that for a first offense, a fine is imposed on drivers, for a second offense, a fine is imposed and a test of knowledge of road traffic rule is required, and for a third offense, the driving license is revoked. In this regard, all drivers under the law are required not to drink alcohol or use drugs while driving, must wear seat belts, must obay the speed limit, not make cell phone calls when driving, and observe pedestrian crossings. He noted that countries such as Australia, Brazil, Greece, Italy and Spain, have been successful in the implementation of such laws in making sure that road traffic fatalities are controlled.
Dr. Myssayev in his presentaion also identified how these measures have helped in reducing road traffic fatalities in the Semey Area and in Kazakhstan in general. Random breath testing has reduced fatalities by 19% in total accidents within an intervention period of twelve months, and 35% in total accidents in forty-nine months after implementation. The impact of sobriety checkpoints has also seen a significant reduction of 26% after twenty-one months, together with hidden speed cameras by 19%, speed control and red-light cameras by 55.7%, on road cameras by 31% and speed cameras and pedestrians by 56%. The impact of fines and the media effect were also mentioned as having contributed in bringing down fatalities on the road.
In conclusion, Dr. Myssayev explained that the main risk groups are pedestrians and vehicle occupants during road traffic fatalities, and the main risk factors are pedestrian-crosswalks without traffic lights, alcohol, and those aged 10-18 and >61 years.
Written by Mr AMO Thompson (APU GSAM)