Death and injury from automobile collisions: An overlooked epidemic

Jason L. Forman, Aileen Y. Watchko, Maria Seguí-Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Automobile collisions are a major source of injury, death, and disability worldwide. Roadway injuries are affected by societal and cultural influences as much as any other health-related event, but have historically received relatively little attention from the medical anthropology community. The development of safety intervention strategies is affected by notions of responsibility for preventive care, including a balance between regulation, technology, and personal choice. This balance may be affected by perceptions of the risks associated with roadway use, potentially related to notions of individual control and the portrayal of collisions in the popular media and lexicon. Prevention efforts are also affected by the definition of injury as a disease-a biological phenomenon requiring research and intervention efforts from the medical and public health communities. Injury prevention priorities and strategies also differ across cultures and locales, dependent in part on economic constraints, native mobility practices, and the quality and expediency of post-trauma care. Progressing injury prevention worldwide requires multidisciplinary action, including an examination of these various cultural and societal influences. We believe that future efforts will benefit from the expertise and analysis of the medical anthropology community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Automobile
  • Injury
  • Prevention
  • Safety
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology

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