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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 165-169

Did the supreme court liquor shop ban in 2017 on highways impact the incidence and severity of road traffic accidents

Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Joshua Vijay Joseph
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_20_20

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Background: Alcohol intoxication plays a major role in the causation of road traffic accidents (RTAs) and assault. On April 1, 2017, the honorable Supreme Court of India banned liquor shops on all national and state highways to a distance of 500 m from them. Out of 231 liquor shops, 178 were closed in Vellore district after the ban. This, we assumed, would have reduced the number of drunken drivers and pedestrians, resulting in the fall in the number and severity of the accidents. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective observational study done in a tertiary hospital in South India. All RTA patients presented to the emergency department (ED) 1 month before the liquor shop ban (March 2017) were included in the preban group and who presented to the ED 1 month after the liquor shop ban (April 2017) were included in the postban group; their incidence and severity of trauma were assessed and compared. A bivariate analysis was done to identify the relationship between these variables and potential determinants, and their 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated. For all tests, a two-sided P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The study cohort included 438 patients, in which 194 were in preban group and 244 in the postban group. Both groups showed male predominance, with a mean age of 37.57 and 35.12 years, respectively. Majority of the RTAs in both groups involved two-wheelers (75.3% vs. 77.9% [odds ratio (OR): 0.87, 95% CI: 0.55–1.35, P = 0.52]). There was no decrease in the incidence of RTA victims under the influence of alcohol (45.2% vs. 45%, OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 0.89–2.90, P = 0.11). There was no decrease in the incidence of severe head injuries (19.1% vs. 15.6%, OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 0.78–2.10, P = 0.33) or injuries to extremities (42.8% vs. 35.2%, OR: 1.37, 95% CI: 0.93–2.02, P = 0.11). Conclusions: Although three-fourth of the liquor shops in the district were closed, it did not have a significant impact on the incidence and severity of RTAs presenting to the ED.

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