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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


LIBERATTI, Christiane Lopes Barrancos; ANDRADE, Selma Maffei de; SOARES, Darli Antonio  and  MATSUO, Tiemi. Helmet use by motorcyclists injured in traffic accidents in Londrina, southern Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.1, pp.33-38. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To describe helmet use among motorcyclists injured in traffic accidents in Londrina, a medium-sized city in Paraná, a state in southern Brazil, and to identify factors associated with not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. METHODS: We analyzed data concerning motorcycle users (drivers and passengers) who received care in 1998 from the only pre-hospitalization trauma and emergency care ambulance service in Londrina. The following variables were assessed: helmet use at the time of the accident; age; sex; seating position (driver or passenger); smell of alcohol on the breath; time of the day, day of the week, and month when the accident happened; and location of the accident (in the downtown area or outside of it). RESULTS: The average rate of helmet use was 63.2%. Factors independently associated with not using a helmet were (according to strength of association): being younger than 18 years of age (odds ratio (OR) = 6.61), having alcohol on the breath (OR = 3.93), accident occurring at night (OR = 2.51), accident happening outside the city's downtown area (OR = 2.27), and accident taking placing during the weekend (OR = 2.25). CONCUSIONS: It is imperative to implement public policies aimed at promoting safety for motorcyclists, ongoing education in defensive driving, and the use of helmets and other safety equipment. Interventions should take into account that driving behaviors depend not just on individuals but also on the overall social and historical context.

Keywords : Capacetes [utilização]; motocicletas; acidentes de trânsito; fatores de risco.

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