Czech, Suzanne and Shakeshaft, Anthony and Sanson-Fisher, Robert and Breen, Courtney (2011) The development and application of a proxy measure of alcohol-related traffic crashes for rural communities. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 43 (6). pp. 2160-2165. ISSN 0001-4575
Context: To date, no studies have adequately examined whether community-level, rather than individual-level,
characteristics, are associated with high rates of alcohol-related traffic crashes (ARTC).
Objective: This study aims to identify a proxy measure of ARTC most appropriate to rural communities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and to identify community characteristics that predict higher rates of ARTC.
Methods: ARTC (2001–2007) incident data from 20 rural communities in NSW were obtained. Cost data were applied to take account of ARTCs of different severity.
Results: The method used to define a proxy measure of ARTCs for NSW generally was found to be inadequate when applied to local communities within NSW: specifically, two time periods were found to be alcohol-related for local communities only and seven time periods were found to be non-alcohol-related for local communities only. Applying a community-specific proxy measure of ARTCs to 20 communities
identified substantial variation in ARTC cost-ratios, ranging from 1.20 to 0.15. Higher cost-ratios were
statistically significantly predicted by the proportion of residents who were male and less than 25 years.
Conclusions: Proxy measures of ARTCs represent an ideal method of utilising routinely collected data to identify specific types of ARTCs that are most relevant to a defined community, identify community-specific factors associated with higher rates of ARTCs and measure the impact of interventions tailored to those risk factors. Such measures ought to be community-specific because these results suggest national or provincial-level definitions are not necessarily directly applicable to local communities. These results show substantial variability between communities in their rates of ARTC and identify communities with higher proportions of young males as being at increased risk.
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