Motor vehicle accidents: Who’s at the highest risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional motor vehicle accidents were the fourth leading cause of nonfatal injury in 2015. Researchers with The Student Research Fellowship Program (SRFP)* decided to dig a little deeper into the topic by looking at Parkview Emergency Department cases and hospital admissions from 2013 for road vehicle trauma in four counties in northeastern Indiana. They analyzed the reports by accident category and road user. Their results are intended to help prevent future accidents.

The findings.
After analyzing the available data, the group discovered:

  • Across all accident categories, motor vehicle users comprised 60 percent of the Emergency Department cases.
  • The highest incidences of any road user in any accident category is female motor vehicle users in motor vehicle traffic accident cases in age groups 15-19 and 20-24. 
  • Males had a significantly higher incidence of being involved in motorcycle accidents in both traffic and nontraffic accidents than females. 
  • Riders of animals/occupants of animal-drawn vehicles were 14 percent of the road trauma cases in LaGrange County, a higher proportion of cases than in the other three counties being studied. 
  • Young people between ages 15 and 24 have the highest case incidence, especially female motor vehicle users.

Prevention.
Through the Share the Road initiative, Parkview Trauma Centers offer the following tips for these two high risk group:  

Motorists

  • Be alert! Don’t drive distracted.
  • Stay at least 3 feet from bicycles (it’s a Fort Wayne ordinance).
  • Always look first, then signal before changing lanes.
  • Obey traffic laws and be aware of posted speed limits.
  • Be aware of areas with running trails, and stay alert for runners on the road.
  • When in rural areas, be aware of buggies, as they are slow-moving vehicles.
  • Turn on your lights to help cyclists and other motorists see you.
  • Pay attention to traffic signs alerting you to others on the road.
  • Slow down, and never drive impaired.

Motorcyclists

  • Be visible: Make sure your headlights and brake lights are working.
  • Be aware that cars and trucks have blind spots, and ride where drivers can see you.
  • Flash your brake lights when slowing down.
  • Dress for safety: Wear a helmet, eye protection and thick, protective leather clothing. Wear a bright-colored helmet or jacket.
  • Give motorists time and space to respond to your presence.
  • Be alert!
  • Obey traffic laws. Never drive impaired.

 

 

*More about The Student Research Fellowship Program.
For the last 30 years the Student Research Fellowship Program (SRFP) has provided summer research opportunities for medical and undergraduate students in Fort Wayne. The SRFP arose through the vision of former Assistant Dean and Director of Indiana University School of Medicine-Fort Wayne (IUSM-FW), Dr. Barth Ragatz, and the Midwest Alliance for Health Education, developed by Fort Wayne Cardiology under the direction of Dr. Michael Mirro, Dr. Robert Godley and Dick Robinson. 

The SRFP matches students’ interest with basic science faculty members or physicians to provide hands-on research experience in bench or clinical research. SRFP sponsored research projects expose students to a large variety of medical and basic science disciplines, which have the potential to result in significant findings that can be published and incorporated into clinical practice. Undergraduate participants also receive expanded training in Institutional Review Board research study approval processes, research ethics, statistics, and presentation and writing skills that will improve their research skills and contributions to the projects. 

Want more information? Visit the website or contact Gina Bailey at (260)481-6731, gibailey@iu.edu.

 

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