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Recreational off-highway vehicle crashes resulting in victims being treated at a regional trauma center: mechanisms and contributing factors

  • Jennissen, Charles A.1, 1
  • Reaney, Meaghan T.1
  • Denning, Gerene M.1
  • 1 Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 52242, USA , Iowa City (United States)
Published Article
Injury Epidemiology
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jun 12, 2020
Suppl 1
DOI: 10.1186/s40621-020-00251-4
Springer Nature


BackgroundRecreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) have become increasingly popular in recent years; however, crash epidemiology is not well described. ROVs travel at least 30 mph, and unlike all-terrain vehicles, have a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seat belts or a harness system for occupants. This study’s objective was to evaluate the demographics, mechanisms, injuries, and associated risk factors of ROV crashes.MethodsA retrospective chart review was performed for patients of all ages with ROV-related injuries presenting to a Level 1 trauma center from 2004 to 2017. Cases were identified by ICD-9/10 codes and narrative searches. Person- and crash-related variables were examined in relation to injury outcomes including body area injured, injury severity score, and disposition (e.g. hospitalization, intensive care unit admission). Descriptive, bivariate (chi-square, Fishers exact test), and linear regression analyses were performed.ResultsSeventy-two patients with ROV-related injuries were identified. The number of injured patients increased over the study period (p < 0.01). Patients were 49% youth < 16 years old, 63% males, and 99% Caucasian. Half of the injured (51%) were passengers, with a higher proportion of youth being passengers (70%) as compared to adults (35%) (p < 0.01). Nearly one-third (30%) of crash victims < 16 years old were ROV drivers. Twenty-nine percent of all crashes occurred on roadways. Almost 40% of injured adults crashed at night, while all youth were injured during the day (p < 0.01). The primary crash mechanism was a rollover (67%). Only one patient was documented as being helmeted, and approximately one-fourth (24%) sustained head injuries and/or loss of consciousness. Other documented injuries included those to the face (20%), chest (22%), abdomen (11%), extremities (58%), and skin (51%). Over 90% of narratives were consistent with victims being unrestrained. Nearly three-fourths (74%) of victims were hospitalized and 26% required ICU care, one-half (53%) of these being children.ConclusionsAlthough ROVs have ROPs, lack of helmet and safety belt use are reducing their benefit. Youth are a large proportion of those injured in ROV crashes, often while driving despite vehicle operation recommended only for those ≥16 years old. Increased public education is needed regarding proper safety measures while operating and riding ROVs.

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