Forecasting Injuries Prevented and Costs Averted by Cambodia's 2015 Passenger Helmet Law
In 2013 motorcyclists accounted for about 1,340 deaths in Cambodia, equal to two-thirds of all road traffic deaths. Motorcycle helmet use varies substantially by rider type, with approximately 60% of drivers and 7% of passengers helmeted. These differences align with helmet laws, which prior to 2015 required that drivers, but not passengers, wear helmets. In January 2015, Cambodia passed a new law mandating motorcycle helmet use for drivers and passengers. This project quantifies the potential injuries and costs averted by increased helmet use between 2015 and 2020.
We projected the number of injuries and deaths between 2015 and 2020 using multiple helmet uptake scenarios. Potential injuries and deaths prevented were based on Cochrane review estimates for the safety value of wearing a motorcycle helmet. Costs—including medical, property damage, and work loss—were calculated for each helmet use scenario.
Assuming passenger helmet use increases to 15%, over 70 deaths and 1,000 head injuries could be prevented over 5 years, accounting for $11 million US dollars in costs averted. Should passenger helmet use reach 80%, over 550 lives could be saved, 10,000 head injuries prevented, and nearly $100 million saved over 5 years.
The new helmet law in Cambodia may increase helmet use, resulting in substantial injuries prevented and costs averted. Increases in helmet use are contingent on many factors including communication about and enforcement of the new law. Government and non-governmental efforts to encourage proper motorcycle helmet use for all riders will likely be critical for achieving these potential increases.
Learning Areas:Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Identify potential injury and cost outcomes of Cambodia’s passenger helmet mandate
Keyword(s): International Health, Motor Vehicles
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focusing on global motor vehicle injury prevention. Economic and policy evaluation are among my scientific interests.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.