Thursday, 8 December 2011

World focuses attention on tragic outcomes of road traffic accidents

The ‘Pinky Ad’ and Road Safety

The ‘Pinky Ad’ and Road Safety Who could forget those ads that ran on Australian television a few years ago about young male drivers – the ones with the pinky finger that targeted risky driving in young males by implying that speeding is linked to an inferiority complex to do with, let’s just say, an aspect of the male anatomy.
While the approach was light-hearted (if a bit sexist!), the subject matter is not. Road accidents are the leading killer of people aged between 15 to 29 years. Globally 1.3 million people die each year on the roads and between 20 and 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries. It is projected that based on current rates, if no action is taken, road accidents will result in 1.9 million deaths by 2020.
Now the world is collectively sitting up and taking notice.

Global Decade of Action for Road Safety

May 11 marked the beginning of the global Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The aim of the ‘Decade’ is to prevent death and injury from road traffic events. At least 20 countries, including Australia, are involved in the Decade, their governments having committed to improving safety management and enhancing health and related services.

Road Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury

The brain and road accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) One of the most tragic outcomes of road accidents is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI is an acquired brain injury caused by physical damage to the brain, either as a result of an external force striking the head or the brain impacting with the skull. The force causes the brain to move within the skull, causing internal damage.
There are different levels of severity raging from mild to extremely severe which are determined by factors including recall of events before and after the incident and level of coma. The more severe the TBI, the poorer the prognosis.
Cognitive and psychological outcomes can include memory difficulties, difficulties with higher level thinking skills (e.g. planning/organisation), slowed speed of information processing, mood and personality change, depression and anxiety.
A 2008 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Research Centre for Injury Studies found that there were more than 22,700 hospitalisations involving TBI in Australia in 2004-05. After falls, transportation use was the second highest external cause of TBI, at 31% of all cases, which represented over 7,000 people.
Nearly 70% of the cases were males, who acquired TBI at more than twice the rate of females. table of TBI road injury

TBI and Clinical Neuropsychology

While the main aim of the Decade is to prevent TBI, another important aim is to improve management of and services for those who experience a TBI. Clinical neuropsychology is critical in the assessment and rehabilitation of TBI. A neuropsychological assessment can provide detailed information on the impact of the TBI on various aspects of cognition (thinking skills) and expert advice regarding the trajectory of brain recovery and remediation/rehabilitation strategies to allow for the best possible outcome.
If you or someone you know has had a TBI and would like more information on our assessment and rehabilitation services, please contact us.
And please slow down on our roads over this holiday period.

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