This study examined changes in traffic accident mortality, examining different types of victims according to each development region in the state of Pernambuco, and estimated expected years of life lost. A descriptive and ecological study was carried out, using secondary data describing traffic collision deaths from the Ministry of Health Mortality Information System, from 1998 through 2007. Spatial analysis techniques were used: Mortality Coefficient Estimates by the Local Empiric Bayesian Method and Moran Spreading Diagram, applied over the digital cartographic databases from Pernambuco. Percentage variation in the coefficient showed a 16.3% decline between the first and the last years in the series. Linear regression showed a negative trend and was statistically significant at the 5% level. The observed decline in traffic collisions resulted mainly from a 35.3% reduction in pedestrian mortality rates, although all the other types of accidents contributed to this decrease, except for motorcycle mortality, which saw an increase of 297%. From the 185 municipalities, 16 encompassing five clusters were identified with an average mortality rate ranging from 5.66 to 11.66 per 100 000 inhabitants, were considered critical areas. Three clusters were located in the area known as Sertão and two in the Agreste of the state. These results point to a greater risk of dying due to motorcycle accidents outside of the Metropolitan areas, and within the identified ones. This suggests that intervention measures that take into consideration the economic, social and cultural contexts are critical.
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