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  Road Safety
Sri Lanka completes report on Global Status Report on Road Safety.

Motorcycle Helmet Survey
Trauma Secretariat completes Motorcycle Helmet Survey.
Fast Facts

Trauma is the leading cause of
hospitalization in Sri Lanka.

Trauma accounts for almost
600,000 patients per year in
Government Hospitals.

Most moderate to severe trauma
results from Road Traffic Crashes.

Road traffic crashes have increased by 249% between 1977 and 2004..

Road traffic fatalities increased by

In government hospitals, injuries
account for 1 out of 6 admissions, and 1 of 9 deaths

Road traffic deaths kill on average on person in Sri Lanka every 4.5 hours.

  History - Trauma Burden

In Sri Lanka, trauma and other injuries have remained the leading cause of hospitalisation since 1995. In 2003, 16.7% of total admissions and 11% of deaths in government health institutions were due to injuries. The trauma burden is felt across all districts. It was ranked as the number one reason for admissions in 18 of the 23 districts 2 . In the 5 other districts, it was always among the top 5.

Road Traffic Injuries

Road Traffic Injuries (RTI) represent a major fraction of the injuries followed by home accidents. Below is a summary of trends in RTI in 2004:

  • Common type of vehicles – half were due to buses and the rest were to dual purpose vehicles, lorries, containers, three-wheelers, motor car/jeeps;

  • Common causes – half were due to factors attributable to the driver such as overtaking, speeding, turning without signals;

  • Common time – 7 of 10 accidents occurred between noon and midnight; while 40% of all the accidents transpired between 6 pm and midnight, half of the fatal accidents transpired during this period;

  • Common victims – one-third are pedestrians; both pedestrians and passengers were half (55%) of the total number of victims; about half were between the ages of 21 and 55.

Click on following graph thumbnails for a larger view.


In Sri Lanka, driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the main factors that account for road traffic injuries (Figure 5- 3). From 1996 to 2000, the number of RTI associated with drunk driving doubled while the number of total accidents increased only by 12%.

Trends among children

Among children under the age of 13 years, home accidents accounted for 56% of injuries. Animal bites and scratches came in second being 21%. Road traffic accidents were the third cause of injuries (8%). Children between the ages of 1 and 4 were mostly at risk of accidental burns 1 . The commonest causes for accidental burns were kerosene lamps, scalding by water and intentional acts.

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