Causes Of Death Due To Traffic Accidents In Costa Rica

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Causes of death due to traffic accidents in Costa Rica


Transit accidents have reached a point of rise, which today is the main problem of so -called premature deaths in the country, to the point of comparing it with being an epidemic.

This can be related to many disrespects to the Transit Law and the limits already pre -established when driving, which exist on the different roads of our country. As for example, we have the speeding on roads, invasions on the opposite lane, disrespect to public roads, reckless driving under the influence of alcohol, among others.

Car accident

The guilty action committed by vehicle drivers, their passengers or pedestrians is defined as a traffic accident, when traveling through all the land public roads of the nation that are at the service and use of the general public;Likewise, the circulation of vehicles in gas stations;In any place for public or commercial parking regulated by the State, in private parking lots of public use of commercial centers and premises, on private roads and beaches in the country. In the traffic accident, at least one vehicle must be involved and damage to the goods, injuries or death of persons, as a consequence of the violation of this law

Traffic accidents in Costa Rica

Terrestrial traffic accidents in Costa Rica have become a serious public health problem, producing as unfortunate results a lot of temporary and permanent serious injuries, as well as deaths of people of all ages. The impact of violence on the country’s land road. The CCSS spent $ 7 million in 2006 on the attention and rehabilitation of drunk drivers. About 30% of collisions in our country are related to alcohol consumption

In countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico, the number of circulating vehicles increased up to five times more than in the United States of America in the last decade. Since road infrastructure has not improved in a corresponding way, the largest congestion of motor vehicles translates into an increase in the number of accidents.

Traffic accidents constitute an important cause of deaths and injuries in Costa Rica, occupy third place among the main causes of death in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica in recent years has had an increase in the motorization index which offers a propitious land for the study of traffic accidents, the country has good information services, there is a single insurance company, which, byLaw, all circulating vehicles are sharp, and health services cover more than 80% of the population. On the other hand, the Mortality Sub -adding is little despite the fact that in recent years it has varied a bit, and most of the death certificates are signed by doctors.

Official Statistics of Legal Medicine, Costa Rica referring to traffic accidents on the roads of Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica there were until 2005 officially, 35.708.18 km of traffic routes, of which they were paved, 8.903.07 km;and in ballast and land:, 6.805.11 km.

The vehicular fleet has dramatically fluctuated ascending, since it went from registering in 1996 the amount of 511.670 vehicles officially registered at 1.013.823 vehicles for 2005.

This represents for 2005 a motorization index of 1 vehicle / 23.44 inhabitants. In that same year, 57 were recorded.129 Traffic accidents with an official part.

In 2007, in study conducted by Solano and Vargas, it was documented that of 3003 autopsies carried out, 717 corresponded to violent deaths due to traffic accidents. The age with the highest mortality were:

  • 20 to 20 years: 22.73%
  • 30 to 39 years: 28.13%
  • 40 to 49 years: 15.9%


Next a statistical table with the complete data on the distribution of the victims of traffic accidents on the road.

In most accidents young people are involved between ages of 20 and 29 years (figures in thousands).

The majority of people who die as a result of a vehicle accident drove a motorcycle, as shown in the following table:

In the last three years the amount of traffic accidents increased by 72%, as well as its expenditure for the health system (cases attended in thousands and cost in billions of colones).

In emergency services, polytraumatized patients appear as one of the ten most frequent diagnoses every day. However, the magnitude of traffic accidents is even greater since they affect external consultation care and disease hospitalization.

In 2017 alone, almost 44 thousand patients with injuries originated after a traffic accident were treated. Figure that generated a turnover that amounted to about ¢ 30 billion, that is, about ¢ 10 billion more than in 2015.

On the other hand, when taking a steering wheel you have to have the total concentration in handling: avoid distractions such as ingesting drinks, food, the use of mobile devices or tablets. Also, have an optimal vehicle, respect the transit law, not abuse speed and not consume alcohol or drugs, Calderón added.

As for the aspect of zero tolerance to alcohol on road, its consumption doubles the probability of ending in an emergency room.

‘The number of adolescents and adults who have increased, in addition, 30% traffic accidents are associated with alcohol consumption,” said Luis Eduardo Sandí, director of the Institute of Alcoholism and Pharmacodependence.

Alcohol intake doubles the probability of ending in an emergency room due to a traffic accident.

The Ministry of Health together with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, to the MOPT, to Cosevi and INS decided to launch a prevention campaign, and thus stop traffic accidents, this campaign was mainly directed to motorcyclists, since the motorcyclists have been the motorcyclistsmost vulnerable, leading the road mortality rate.

As of 2018 today the data is as follows:

Since 2018 you have that the amount of traffic accidents is 37.600, more or less about 100 accidents per day, where the result of the victims was 20 thousand people (among injured and deceased people), of those people 12% serious injuries were caused, and approximately among all those victims were lost36 thousand years of healthy life.

Between the months of January and September 2018, 21.128 people were treated in emergencies, of these people 66% were motorcyclists and 82% of those treated were men

It seems that the rise in traffic accidents occur on Friday nights and in the early hours of Monday, mainly in the provinces of Puntarenas, San José, Guanacaste and Alajuela.

  • Biomechanics of injuries

It is defined as the transfer of energy to a fabric, a tool that allows the study of this trauma, in order to clarify the relationship between the tissues and the objects that make contact with the fabric product of multiple factors. An example of this is that the lesion depends on the speed, amount of energy transmitted, surface on which it is applied and elastic tissue properties.

  • Collision and shock

The trauma that occur during collisions and shocks will always depend on multiple factors because of the same fact.

  • Front impact

Collision of the front of the vehicle with an object that suddenly reduces its speed. In this case, the energy generated is transformed and absorbed by the vehicle and its occupants.

  • Lateral impact

Collision against one side of the vehicle, which accelerates the occupant away from the point of impact (acceleration opposite to the deceleration).

  • Posterior impact

The completely arrested vehicle is beaten by another at the back. When it happens in this way, the torso is accelerated forward, but the head not accelerated along with the rest of the body, which produces hyperextension of the neck

  • Overturning

When a vehicle due to its speed is hit by another mobile or precipitated, it loses its normal position turning and counting against the circrable surface.

This turning situation produces more severe injuries due to violent and multiple movements, depending on the use or not of the seat belt.

There are two variants when overturns happen:

The "Tonge rust" is the back of a vehicle when it leans or supports on the tires on one side to turn on its longitudinal axis. And the "Campana Tour" is presented if the vehicle’s turn is on the transverse axis, forward or backward.

Two main mechanisms produce lesions in collisions and shocks:

  • Compression

The previous part can cease its movement, however, internal organs continue in motion during impact. This makes the person present trauma such as myocardial contusion, pneumothorax to tension and diaphragmatic break with herniation of intestinal handles towards the thoracic cavity.

  • Deceleration

The fixed portion of an organ ceases its movement, while the moving parts continue to do it forward. In these cases you can find transverse aortic laceration, of the spleen or kidney (as they are organs provided with pedicles), or the liver before the traction exerted on the round ligament.

Adjuvant factors in traffic accidents

Use of the seat belt

The prevention of the lesion is based, in the first place, on "giving more time" the body of the occupant of the vehicle before impacting with the vehicle structures. In this way it will reduce its speed to a minimum, which will reduce the possibility of injuries.

The seat belt is to avoid ejection (projection of people out in case of collision). The probability of severe and mortal injuries is much greater when a person is driven outside their position, even if it is not expelled out of the vehicle.

Use of the helmet

In case of impact, the helmet has as main objectives the physical protection of the head in the face of the action of the surface on which it collides, prevent any object from penetrating the head, absorbing as much energy as possible and distributing the energy spilledAbout the skull in the most homogeneous way possible.

Alcohol intake:

Alcohol consumption causes highly dangerous driving.

The effects of alcohol consumption on vehicle driving vary according to the degree of breathalyzer.

Mobile phone use

The use of the mobile phone is increasingly widespread in the population. This use is also extended to the conductive population, although it is sufficiently demonstrated that it significantly increases the risk of an accident.

In addition to the distraction, driving while talking on the mobile produces on the reflexes, effects similar to those produced by the ingestion of a sufficient amount of alcohol.

Legal medical assessment of traffic accidents in the living patient

The Forensic Medical Clinical Section of the Department of Legal Medicine of Judicial Investigation Agency is responsible for carrying out the valuations of the physical state of living persons victims of traffic accidents at the request of a competent judicial authority in two moments. An initial assessment is carried out in the closest possible period to the accident, while a second assessment occurs when the patient has completed the follow -up by his treating doctors (it has been discharged), and is aimed at theassessment of sequelae.


Through this research, it was intended at all times to collaborate to clarify and provide productive information about the different reasons of the increase in traffic accidents, in addition to the frequency with which they happen in our country. This problem is the cause of the greatest amount of deaths of young people in Costa Rica, where reckless recklessness, reckless driving, driving low alcohol and drugs as mentioned above are some of the main causes of why these accidents happen, therefore, through statistics and the different information collected in the course of this research, it is collaborated to create more awareness in the population as well as inform them about the reality of these accidents today, that they know that no one is immune to theseAnd above all, help to determine the consequences and implications with which these can have an impact on the entire population in general, therefore through data to all, this problem can be better fought.

Bibliographic references

  • Barquero, Karen. (2017). Acidados cost 48 billion colones last year. CSOAAT RICA: THE [Digital version]. Available at: https: // www.the Republic.Net/News/Acidadas-Costaron-48-Mil-Millones-El-No-Pasado
  • Barquero, Karen. (2018). Traffic accidents increased 72% in three years. Costa Rica: The [Digital version]. Available at: https: // www.the
  • Barquero, Karen. (2019). Traffic accidents: Main procure mortality problem, health alert. Costa Rica: The [Digital version]. Available at: https: // www.the Republic.Net/News/Accidents-of-Transit-Principal-Problem-De-Mortality-Entermissity-Salaud
  • Castro, Jhonny. (2019). Almost 50% of road deaths are motorcyclists. Costa Rica: The [Digital version]. Available at: https: // www.the Republic.Net/News/Accidents-of-Transit-Principal-Problem-De-Mortality-Entermissity-Salaud
  • Ramírez, Jose (2013). Terrestrial traffic accidents. Legal Medicine of Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Scielo. [Digital version]. Available at: https: // www.Scielo.SA.Cr/Scielo.PHP?Pid = S1409-00152013000200009 & script = sci_arttext & tlng = in
  • Rodríguez, Irene (2016). Road accidents take third place as a cause of death in Costa Rica. Costa Rica: The Nation. [Digital version]. Available at: https: //

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