To assess the blood alcohol concentration (BAC; dependent variable) of patients with road traffic injuries (RTIs) presenting at 3 provincial and central hospitals in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam by age, sex, and road user type (independent variables). This survey formed part of the Viet Nam Road Traffic Injury Prevention Project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
RTIs are a leading cause of death and disability in Viet Nam, with 14,690 deaths and 143,940 injuries reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2010. Research estimates suggest that motorcycle riders and passengers account for 60 percent of fatalities. Alcohol has long been suspected of being a leading cause of road traffic collisions and injuries. However, until now data on this relationship have been limited.
A descriptive cross-sectional study measuring BAC in all consenting patients with RTIs presenting at 3 provincial or central hospitals between July 2009 and September 2010. All results were anonymous and summary information on key variables was sent to MOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) on a monthly basis.
Of the 36,418 patients with RTIs presenting to these 3 hospitals between July 2009 and September 2010, BAC analysis was completed on 14,990 patients (41.2%), representing all patients with RTIs 15 years of age and above who consented to anonymous testing. BAC results ranged from 0 to 0.589 g/dL blood, with a mean of 0.0441 g/dL being the average concentration among all tested patients. Of all patients tested, 56.8 percent had no detectable alcohol in their system. Motorcycle riders were most commonly represented in the tested sample (70.7%), with 27.8 percent having a BAC above the legal limit (0.05 g/dL). Car or other vehicle drivers represented 2.7 percent of the sample, with 63.4 percent tested having a BAC above 0 g/dL, the legal limit for these road users.