Online Program

Prevalence and characteristics of non-fatal struck-by motor-vehicle events among Iowa law enforcement officers

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hope Tiesman, PhD, MSPH, Division of Safety Research, CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
Rebecca Heick, PhD, American Red Cross, Moline, IL
Background: Law enforcement officers (LEOs) spend a great deal of time in close proximity to moving traffic, putting them at an increased risk of being stuck by a motor-vehicle (MV). We performed a cross-sectional survey to identify the knowledge, perceptions, and safety practices of LEOs with regard to MV safety, including struck-by events.

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, 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 officers by agency leadership in 2011.

Results: The survey response rate was 79% (n=1,157). Sixteen percent of LEOs reported being struck or nearly struck by a MV in the prior 3 years (n=184). Struck-by events were more common among small agencies (p=0.007), Iowa State Patrol (p<0.0001), patrol officers (p=0.0003), and at nighttime (p=0.04). Forty-seven percent of struck-by events occurred during a traffic stop (n=87) and 41% when the LEO was working a MV crash (n=75). The LEO was located on the shoulder in 39% of the struck-by events (n=72), next to the other vehicle in 27% (n=50), and next to their vehicle in 21% (n=39). Three percent of struck-by events resulted in a non-fatal occupational injury (n=6, 3.3%).

Conclusions: Struck-by events occurred in a variety of situations and among a range of LEOs. The potential for serious or fatal injury underscores the need for further exploration of risk factors and interventions.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence and characteristics of non-fatal struck-by events among a cohort of sworn Iowa Law Enforcement Officers Discuss possible injury prevention strategies for the public safety sector with regard to struck-by events

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the study, methods, and research questions. I assisted in data collection. I 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.