Authors: M Vanderschuren and D Mckune

Keyword: road deaths, road fatalities, traffic accidents, South Africa, Western Cape


The World Health Organization (2009) indicates that the African region has some of the world’s highest road traffic fatalities globally making it the 9th leading cause of death in the region. Data shows that the risk of dying, as a result of a road traffic collision, is highest in the African region at 24.1/100 000 population (the global rate is 18/100 000). Nigeria and South Africa have the highest road traffic fatality rates (33.7 and 31.9/100 000, respectively) and, together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, account for 64% of all road traffic deaths in the region (Peden et al., 2013). There is consensus in the literature that the provision of appropriate medical care following a road accident is a critical determinant of both the chance of survival and, on survival, the quality of life (ETSC, 1999; OECD, 1999). The potential to reduce fatalities by means of early and appropriate medical treatment is associated with the so called “golden hour” (the time to access a trauma care facility). This paper identifies the accessibility of trauma care facilities in the Western Cape.