# Prevalence and pattern of road traffic accidents among commercial motorcyclists in a city in Southern Nigeria

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3 Ofonime 539 Table 1. Prevalence of road traffic accidents among motorcyclists. History of accident Frequency N=200, n (%) Ever being involved in accident Yes 136 (68.0) No 64 (32.0) Frequency N=136 Once 43 (31.6) Twice 24 (17.6) Three times 22 (16.2) Four times or more 47 (34.6) Were you involved in an accident in the past year N=136 Yes 119 (87.5) No 17(12.5) Frequency N=119 Once 26 (21.8) Twice or more 93 (78.2) Table 2. Reported cause of the most recent accident and object of collision. Reported cause of most recent accident Frequency N = 136, n (%) Over speeding 88 (64.7) Brake failure 18 (13.2) Don t know 30 (22.1) Object of collision A motorcycle 64 (47.0) A stationary object 27 (19.9) A vehicle, car 20 (14.7) *Others 25 (18.4) *Pedestrian and animal Data management/analysis The data obtained was edited and collated manually, entered into the computer and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17. Frequencies were generated and the Chisquare test was used to compare different proportions and test associations. Ethical Considerations Permission to carry out the study was obtained from Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health and Commercial Motorcycle Association in the State. Informed consent was obtained from respondents after explaining the purpose of the study. Respondents were told that they had a right to decline being interviewed if they wished and would suffer no consequences for such decision. All of them willingly agreed to participate in the study. RESULTS A total of 200 commercial motorcyclists participated in the study. Majority, 147(73.5%) of the motorcyclists were < 40 years of age with a mean age of 33 years. A total of 136 (68%) had been involved in road traffic accidents since they started riding motorcycles. Up to 47 (34.5%) of them had accidents 4 or more times and 119 (87.5%) were involved in accident in the year prior to the study. (Table 1) Among those who were ever involved in accidents, 88 (64.7%) attributed the last accident to over speeding and 64 (47.1%) of them reported colliding with another motorcycle during the most recent accident. (Table 2)

4 540 Educ. Res. Table 3. Events during most recent RTA. Characteristics Helmet use by motorcyclist during RTA Frequency N=136, n(%) Yes 11(8.1) No 125 (91.9) No of passengers carried during accident 1 36 (36.5) >1 53 (39.0) No passenger 47 (34.5) Table 4. Presence and characteristics of injuries sustained during most recent accident. Characteristics Frequency n (%) Sustaining of injuries N = 136 Yes 99 (72.8) No 37 (27.2) If yes, specify site of injury* N = 99 Lower limb 44 (44.4) Upper limb 30 (30.3) Head/face 18 (18.2) Trunk 15 (15.1) Type of injuries sustained* N = 99 Bruises/abrasions 74 (74.7) Laceration 20(20.2) Burns 12 (12.1) Fracture 12(12.1) *Multiple responses Majority, 125 (91.9%) motorcyclists were not wearing helmet during the most recent accident and 53 (39.0%) admitted to carrying more than one passenger during the accident. (Table 3) A total of 99 (72.8%) motorcyclists sustained injuries during the most recent accident, out of which up to 44 (44.4%) reported having injuries in the lower limb. Majority, 74 (74.7%) reported sustaining bruises, while 12 (12.1%) sustained fractures. (Table 4) Up to 93 (46.5%) felt the commonest cause of motorcycle accidents was excessive speeding by motorcyclists, while 53 (26.5%) felt it was dangerous riding by other motorcyclists. Consequently, up to 138 (69.0%) felt that the single most important way of reducing accidents among motorcyclist was speed reduction. Road traffic accidents was observed to occur most amongst those aged <30 years, though the difference was not statistically significant (χ2 = 0.93, p >0.05). The incidence of accident was higher among those who drank alcohol, 57 (96.6%), than among those who did not, 79 (56%) (χ2 = 31.5, p < 0.05). Accident rate was also higher among those who were speeding excessively, 104 (80.0%), compared to those who did not, 32 (45.7%) (χ2 = 24.8, p < 0.05). (Table 5) DISCUSSION Majority of the motorcyclists in this study were young and energetic and in their most productive years of life. This seems logical as the job of riding motorcycles for commercial purposes seems to be very demanding. A study carried out in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria showed that 88% of the motorcyclists in the study were aged between 18 and 30 years (Cervero, 2007). The prevalence of motorcycle injuries of 68% in the present study was higher than that recorded in studies in western Nigeria, 45.3% (Owoaje et al., 2005) Uganda, 25%, (Naddumba, 2004) Benin City, Nigeria, 18% (Nzegwu et al., 2008) and India where the prevalence of motorcycle injuries was reported to be 56.1% (Fitzharris

5 Ofonime 541 Table 5. Association between respondents characteristics and involvement in accident. Has respondent ever been involved in an accident while riding Characteristics Yes No Total Statistics p-value N= 136, n (%) N = 64, n (%) χ 2 Age group < 30 years 52 (72.2) 20 (27.8) to (65.3) 26 (34.7) (66.0) 18 (34.0) 53 Use of alcohol Yes 57 (96.6) 2 (3.4) No 79 (56.0) 62 (44.0) 141 Excessive speeding Yes 104 (80.0) 26 (20.0) No 32 (45.7) 38 (54.3) 70 et al., 2009). This may have been due to large number of commercial motorcyclists in the present study and their riding habits. Injury to the extremities being the commonest form of injury recorded during motorcycle crashes in this study was similar to findings reported in some other studies. A study done in Singapore reported that wounds, fractures and/or dislocations of the limbs were significantly more common among motorcyclists in emergency departments compared with other motor vehicular incidents (Tham et al., 2004). In a study done at Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital,Ile Ife, Nigeria among victims of motorcycle accident, 79.3% of them had limb injuries (Oluwadiya et al., 2004). Lower limb injuries was also reported in several other studies (Eluwa et al., 2010; Markogiannakis et al., 2006; Seleye-Fubara and Ekere, 2003; Hare and Von Holst, 2003). The probable explanation for the high frequency of lower-limb injuries is that the limbs are often squeezed between the motorcycle and impacting vehicle, the ground or some other fixed object. Some studies have however reported head injury as the most frequently occurring injury among motorcyclists. A study to asses motorcycle injuries in north-central Nigeria, reported that head injury (40.1%) was the most frequently occurring injury followed closely by extremity injuries (38.1%). None of the patients wore protective helmet (Nwadiaro et al., 2011). Poor helmet use has been recorded in several studies, especially in developing countries. In the present study, helmet use was less than 10%. In a study among motorcyclists in Ondo, Nigeria, only 0.5% used helmets and up to a third of them had never seen the crash helmet before (Okedare, 2004). In Benin City, Nigeria two studies reported that all motorcyclists and their passengers did not use helmets (Nzegwu et al., 2008); (Saheeb and Etetafia, 2003). On the contrary, an in-depth study of motorcycle accidents carried out in London showed that 80% of the motorcyclists wore helmets (Department for Transport, In Depth Study of Motorcycle Accidents, 2004). These differences in the rate of helmet use reflect differences in awareness of the role of helmet in preventing or reducing the severity of head injury during motorcycle accidents between these countries and poor enforcement of traffic laws. It could also be due to difference in attitudes to helmet wearing between these countries. Excessive speed and alcohol use were identified as factors which contributed to the rate of occurrence of accidents among the motorcyclists in this study. Similar findings were recorded in a study among motorcyclists in Karu, Nigeria where reckless driving accounted for 78% of the accidents while alcohol and drug intoxication accounted for 66% and 46%, respectively (Aetukumana et al., 2010). In conclusion, motorcycle injuries constitute a major but neglected emerging public health problem. There is need for legislation against alcohol consumption among motorcyclists during riding hours and enforcement of speed limits by government in order to reduce RTA among motorcyclists. REFERENCES Abdul K (2003).Review of global menace of road accidents with special to reference to Malaysia: A social perspective. Malaysian J Med Sci. 10: Aetukumana IL, Onumbu I, John M (2010). Valenti Possible Causes of Motorcycle (Okada) Accidents in Karu, Nigeria.Injury Prevention. 16(Suppl. 1),A88 Alicioğlu B, Yalniz E, Eşkin D, Yilmaz B (2008). Injuries associated with motorcycle accidents. Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 42, Aniekan UE, Sydney I (2003). Pattern of motorcycle accidentassociated injuries in Port Harcourt. A hospital study. Orient Journal of Medicine. 15: Cervero R (2007). Informal Transport in developing world. Wikipedia

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