Road traffic injuries are a major cause of disability and are responsible for more than one million deaths each year worldwide.
A disproportionate number of road traffic injuries occur in countries with rapidly developing economies where increases in mobility and motor vehicle use are not often matched with safety-focused infrastructure and road safety policy enforcement. This constitutes a global public health crisis that requires a multisector and dynamic response strategy. An important, though nontraditional, public health partner may be multinational corporations that strive to protect and promote health in their global workforces.
‘A disproportionate number of road traffic injuries occur in countries with rapidly developing economies where increases in mobility and motor vehicle use are not often matched with safety-focused infrastructure and road safety policy enforcement.’
A research team led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) worked with a major United States multinational corporation to investigate employee perceptions of road risks and strategies to reduce road traffic injuries. This research was conducted in two Indian cities with some of the highest road traffic injury rates worldwide that are also centers for multinational corporations in the software and technology sectors.
"Study results indicated the need to balance customizing prevention efforts to the local environment with an overarching, evidence-based corporate strategy to protect employees," said lead author Sara Jacoby, PhD, MPH, RN, who recently completed her doctoral studies at Penn Nursing and is currently an interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellow in the Penn Injury Science Center.
Through interviews, focus groups, and surveys of local representatives of a global workforce as part of health risk assessment tools or as a series of stand-alone inquiries, the study offers a replicable and straightforward methodology to gather employee perspective for local road traffic intervention strategies.
"These employee-endorsed strategies for road traffic safety in high risk environments like urban India include implementing corporate traffic safety policies, advocating for road safety with government partners, and providing employees with education and access to safety equipment and safer transportation options," said Penn Nursing's Therese S. Richmond, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing, Associate Dean for Research & Innovation, and a member of the executive committee of the Penn Injury Science Center. "Road traffic safety fits within a global strategy to improve employee health."
The study, "Road Safety Perspectives Among Employees of a Multinational Corporation in Urban India: Local Context for Global Injury Prevention," has been published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion.
"There are global issues that must be addressed in traffic safety. We know what works to improve traffic safety, such as seat belt use and driving attentively; however, how these play out and whether these behaviors are adopted has to be adapted 'glocally'," said Flaura K. Winston, MD, PhD, founder and scientific director of CIRP. "This 'glocal' approach takes global issues and adapts them to a local context."