Nunavik Inuit Health Survey 2004 : Transportation Injuries and Safety

Aboriginal people generally have higher traumabased death and hospitalization rates than the rest of the population. Nunavik residents were characterized by much higher death rates and lost potential years of life due to trauma (intentional and non intentional) than Quebecers as a whole during the periods 1991-1993 to 1997-1998. The Inuit of Nunavik also have higher hospitalization rates for trauma than do Quebecers as a whole, with a predominance of falls, off-road vehicle accidents, attempted murders and attempted suicides. This summary presents the results of the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey on transportation injuries and safety; it allows describing the prevalence of injuries among residents living in private households in Nunavik as reported during the 2004 survey.

Injuries reported during the 12 previous months are defined as those that were sufficiently serious to limit the individual’s regular activities. Injuries reported in this survey are relatively infrequent and those that limited regular activities affected 4 of every 100 residents of all ages from the region (3.8%). Men experience more injuries than women and a higher tendency towards injury is observed among young people. The prevalence of injuries reported did not vary between 1992 and 2004 and is much lower than those observed among other Canadian Aboriginal populations; this leads to an assumption that the true prevalence of injuries in Nunavik has been underestimated.

Transportation-related injuries, including those resulting from a snowmobile or ATV accident, represent the main circumstances surrounding reported injuries. In terms of transportation safety measures, one quarter of snowmobile users sometimes or often travel alone when driving outside the village and three-quarters of motorized boat users rarely or never wear a personal flotation device; this last behaviour is more common among women and residents living along the Hudson coast.

Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs multiplies the risk of trauma and remains a frequent behaviour that was reported on a least one occasion by nearly 4 out of 10 motor vehicle drivers in the 12 months preceding the survey. The proportion is one third for those driving snowmobiles and ATVs, the most frequently used vehicles in Nunavik. Men, young people and individuals who consume heavy amounts of alcohol on a single occasion (six drinks or more) are at greater risk of accidents with injuries. The results of this survey allow us to identify certain atrisk groups to which prevention activities should be directed.




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