Road Traffic Crashes Report
A new report published by Public Health Wales has looked in to the effects of the full Wales COVID-19 lockdown on road traffic crashes.
Between January and May 2020 the work identified a decrease of nearly 47 per cent in health service treatment of road traffic crash injuries compared with the same period in 2019.
Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Public Health said: “Unfortunately road traffic crashes are a consequence of transport and travel. At a time of significant change to our transport and travel behaviours we also saw that injuries sustained in road traffic crashes were almost halved.
“While this is welcome news in terms of the human cost of travel and transport, more work over a longer time period will be needed to establish if there is a permanent ‘COVID-19 effect’ on road crash injuries.
“We have all experienced drastic changes to our lives since January,” continues Dr Jones.
“While these controls are necessary but often unwelcome, the fact that reductions in crashes have been achieved in a short timescale does show what is possible.
“The challenge ahead is to identify policies that aim to maintain positive changes in behaviour encouraging active travel, and integrating that with safe and sustainable public transport options when appropriate we can maintain positive behaviour changes
“If a reduction in car use and an increase in home working can be sustained, it could contribute long term to a sustained decrease in crashes,” she concluded.
This complements another opinion report, also produced by the Environmental Public Health Team, earlier this year (https://airquality.gov.wales/reports-seminars/reports).
This related to an analysis of data from continuous air quality monitoring sites across Wales which showed that concentrations of some air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, fell during the Wales COVID-19 lockdown (between end March and end May 2020).
“What we can see is that measured reductions in transport-related air pollutant emissions were detected because more people were staying at home and travelling less.
“However, these gains may be offset by increases in other outdoor pollutants and well as potential increases in exposure to indoor air pollutants.”
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