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T. M. Tervo, W. Neira, J. M. Holopainen; Acute Illness and Observation Failures as Cause of Fatal Traffic Accidents in Finland. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4454.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To study the incidence of acute illness, age and observation failures as an immediate cause for FMVA
Retrospective, longitudinal study of all fatal motor vehicles accidents (FMVA) in Finland caused by (1) an observation failure or (2) acute illness. In the study (1) accidents between Jan 1995 and Dec 2005 were analyzed whereas study (2) involved crashes between Jan 2003 and Dec 2004. The files are by the Finnish law behold by The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre, which also coordinates the inspections process. Nine hundred ninety one FMVAs secondary to observation failures were categorized into the three subgroups: 1. vehicle crashes due to observation failure of the driver, 2. pedestrian-vehicle accidents due to the driver's observation failure, and 3. pedestrian- vehicle accidents due to the pedestrian’s observation failure. The population was sorted into five age categories (<20, 20-24, 25-44, 45-64, and ≥65 years), and the frequency of observation errors was calculated against the number of valid drivers licenses (DL) in each age group. In the second part of this study, 54 autopsy reports from FMVAs caused by an acute illness of the driver between were examined and the health related causes analyzed.
1. Observation failure: the oldest age group (> 65 years) had the highest prevalence of FMVA in both vehicle-vehicle and pedestrian- vehicle accidents due to the pedestrian’s error as an immediate cause. However, in the age group of 25 - 44 y pedestrian fatalities were most often caused by an observation failure by the car driver. We estimated that in 20 - 30% of all FMVAs affecting subjects > 65 years an impairment of cognitive functions may be involved. 2. Cardiovascular related diseases were the predominant acute illness associated with FMVA and accounted for 11 % of all FMVAs in 2003-4. Ocular conditions did not seem to play a role.
Presumably cognition-related observation failures began to play an important role from the age of 55-65 years. Cardiovascular diseases are the most frequent cause of acute disease/incapacity- related FMVA in Finland.
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