267265 Newspaper Press Clippings as a Surveillance Source of All-Terrain Vehicle Crashes and Fatalities

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Charles Jennissen, MD , Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Children's Hospital/ University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA
Gerene Denning, PhD , Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA
Gretchen McCall , College of Liberal Arts, University of Iowa, Coralville, IA
Karisa Harland, MPH, PhD , Departments of Emergency Medicine and Public Health, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, and the Injury Prevention Research Center, Iowa City, IA
Background: Many all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths never reach an Emergency Department and are missed by hospital-based surveillance. Newspaper reports are an untapped resource to investigate factors surrounding ATV crashes. Objectives: To determine the information available in newspaper reports of ATV fatalities and their usefulness in crash surveillance. Methods: ATV crash newspaper reports were collected prospectively from nine Midwest/Great Plains states in 2009-2010. Event circumstances were analyzed. Data was compared to that available from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Results: Press clippings captured over 90% of state fatalities as reported by the CPSC. ATV-related fatalities were 84% males; 16% were children under 16 years. Approximately 1 in 4 victims were wearing a helmet. The majority of crashes (52%) occurred during compromised light conditions (dusk/night/dawn). Over half occurred on Saturday and Sunday. More than 1 in 10 fatal crashes involved vehicle-vehicle collisions (15%) or being pinned by the vehicle (11%). For over 90% of crash victims, newspaper reports provided age, gender, seating position, time/day of the event, type of path (road, trail, or off-road), and surface type. Vehicle-related parameters (e.g., vehicle model, engine size), speed at the time of the event, and weather conditions were poorly documented. Annual fatality rates were higher than the overall average (1.0 deaths/100,000 rural population) for MN (1.2), MO (1.3), NE (1.4), and ND (1.4). Conclusion: Newspapers comprehensively capture ATV-related deaths in multiple states and provide information not readily available from other sources. Although limitations exist, press clippings could be a valuable source of information for an integrated ATV surveillance database.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss problems related to injury surveillance, and in particular to all-terrain vehicle-related injuries and deaths, and what information is available in newspaper reports. Identify when most all-terrain fatalities occur in the Midwest and Great Plains states.

Keywords: Injury Risk, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral trained injury epidemiologist in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Occupational and Environmental Health. I have co-authored several manuscripts on ATV epidemiology and injury prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.