Online Program

Prevalence and characteristics of non-fatal motor-vehicle crashes among Iowa law enforcement officers

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Hope Tiesman, PhD, MSPH, Division of Safety Research, CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
Rebecca Heick, PhD, American Red Cross, Moline, IL
Background: Motor-vehicle incidents are the leading cause of occupational death among U.S. law enforcement officers (LEOs), yet little is known about non-fatal crashes. This study used a cross-sectional survey to identify the knowledge, perceptions, and safety practices of LEOs with regard to motor-vehicle safety. Here, we present data on motor-vehicle crashes (MVCs).

Methods: A state-wide random sample of 136 law enforcement agencies, stratified by type (sheriff, municipal, Iowa State Patrol) and size (<10 officers, 10-50, and greater than 50) was drawn from all Iowa agencies. Sixty agencies agreed to participate (44%) and a cross-sectional survey was distributed to 1,466 sworn officers by the agency head in 2011. Analyses were performed using SAS.

Results: 1,157 officers responded for a response rate of 79%. State-wide, 20% of LEOs reported being in an occupational MVC in the prior three years (n=225, 19.5%). MVCs were more common among officers younger than 32 years (p<0.0001) and patrol officers (p=0.002). Seventy percent of MVCs occurred in clear weather conditions (n=157), 49% in daylight hours (n=111), and 79% at speeds below 50 mph (n=178). Thirty-four percent occurred during an emergency response (n=77). In 90% of the MVCs, the LEO reported being restrained in the driver seat (n=204). LEOs were injured in 17% of the MVCs (n=39) and of those, 77% filed a workers' compensation claim (n=35).

Conclusions: MVCs primarily occurred during non-high risk driving situations (daylight, clear weather, low speeds, non-emergency calls). Further exploration of training, policy, and cultural elements may help to reduce MVCs among LEOs.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence and characteristics of non-fatal motor-vehicle crashes among a cohort of sworn Iowa Law Enforcement Officers Discuss ideas for future research into interventions to reduce motor-vehicle crashes in law enforcement

Keyword(s): Occupational Injury and Death, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the study design and hypotheses, aided in the data collection, analyzed the data, and prepared the abstract.
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.