Emergency Department Visits for Motor Vehicle Traffic Injuries: United States, 2010–2011

In spite of improvements in motor vehicle safety in recent years, motor vehicle crashes remain a major source of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries also result in substantial economic and societal costs related to medical care and lost productivity.

A new NCHS report describes the rates and characteristics of emergency department (ED) visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries during 2010–2011 based on nationally representative data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2010–2011, the emergency department (ED) visit rate for motor vehicle traffic injuries was highest among persons aged 16–24 years. The rates declined with age after 16–24, with rates for those aged 0–15 similar to those 65 and over.
  • The overall ED visit rate for motor vehicle traffic injuries was higher among non-Hispanic black persons compared with non-Hispanic white and Hispanic persons.
  • Imaging services were ordered or provided at 70.2% of ED visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries, which was higher than for other injury-related ED visits (55.9%).
  • About one-half of ED visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries had a primary diagnosis of sprains and strains of the neck and back, contusion with intact skin surface, or spinal disorders.
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