Connecting Social Deprivation and Involvement in Road Accidents: Results and Implications
McGUIGAN D, The City of Edinburgh Council, BULL M and GORMAN D, Lothian Health Board, UK
In support of an Urban Aid grant application for a road safety initiative in Pilton, a multiply deprived area of Edinburgh, the former Lothian Regional Council investigated the casualty rate there compared with that of the rest of the Region. At the time
In support of an Urban Aid grant application for a road safety initiative in Pilton, a multiply deprived area of Edinburgh, the former Lothian Regional Council investigated the casualty rate there compared with that of the rest of the Region. At the time there was anecdotal evidence of a relationship between deprivation and road accident involvement, but no hard evidence of its range and scope could be found.
This investigation was undertaken on 1990 data by trawling the casualty records held by Lothian and Borders Police on generic street names in Pilton. This exercise was quickly undertaken to meet deadlines and provided the results shown in Table 1.
These data indicated that residents of Pilton were 70% more likely to be victims in road accidents than people living elsewhere. This figure rose to over 100% for children and older people. These data, however, systematically underestimated the disparity between the casualty rates for deprived areas and elsewhere because:
* the search for Pilton residents on generic street names will have led to an undercount of residents
* the casualty rate for the rest of Lothian included casualties not resident in Lothian
* the rate for the rest of Lothian includes casualties who are residents of other multiply deprived areas
So, for the first time there was reasonably clear evidence of a relationship between deprivation and injury or death in a road accident. There was a concern that in the year 2000 the local road safety community could be congratulating itself on achieving the one third casualty reduction target but without reducing the disparity in casualty rates.
The second Road Safety Plan for Lothian Region published in November 1992 incorporated an action to investigate this problem in more detail. It was subsequently decided, therefore, to assign the postcode of casualties to the STATS19 casualty records and to backdate the assignments to 1990.
On 1 April 1996, Lothian Regional Council ceased to exist and was replaced by four new unitary authorities based exactly on the former District Council boundaries. Lothian Health Board - unaffected directly by local government reform in Scotland - has responsibility for the Lothian area. This paper is based on data for the former area of Lothian Region.
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