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Improvements in medical care and technology and reductions in traffic-related fatalities in Great Britain
journal contributionposted on 04.09.2009, 10:45 authored by Robert B. Noland, Mohammed Quddus
Great Britain has one of the lowest levels of traffic-related fatalities in the industrialized world with a current total of about 3500 fatalities per year. Large reductions have occurred over the last 20–30 years and the government has targets of achieving another 40% reduction by 2010. This paper analyzes some of the factors that have been statistically significant in helping to achieve those reductions with a focus on improvements in medical care and technology. Using a cross-sectional time-series of regional data a fixed effects negative binomial (NB) model is estimated which includes three proxies of medical care and technology changes. These are the average length of inpatient stay in the hospital, the per-capita level of National Health Service (NHS) staff, and number of people per-capita waiting for hospital treatment. All are statistically significant with the expected sign showing that improvements in medical technology have reduced total fatalities with less of an impact from changes in medical care. Other variables are also found to be significant, including the percent of elderly people in the population, per-capita expenditure on alcohol, motorway capacity, and average vehicle age. The latter shows a surprisingly unexpected effect, with more older vehicles in a region leading to fewer fatalities. Models evaluating effects on serious and slight injuries are also estimated and serve to confirm the expected effects of medical care and technology.
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