142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Association between motorcycle helmet type and the risk of neck injury among California motorcyclists involved in traffic collisions: A preliminary analysis

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Thomas M. Rice, MPH, PhD , Division of Environmental Health Services, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Mark Pope, BS , Motorcycle Safety Unit, California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA
Lara Troszak, BS , School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Purpose: In this analysis we estimated the association between specific helmet types and the risk of neck injury among almost 8,000 California motorcyclists involved in traffic collisions.

Methods: The California Highway Patrol and numerous city and county policed departments in California used a one-page supplemental form to collect information on helmet characteristics, helmet certification, helmet retention, body region injured, and other motorcyclist behaviors during investigations of motorcycle collisions of any injury severity between July 2012 through August 2013. We compared the probability of neck injury with tabular methods and log-binomial regression.

Results: We analyzed preliminary data on 7,514 collision-involved motorcycles that were carrying 7,917 persons. Of these riders, 67% were wearing a full-face helmet, followed 14% with 1/2-helmets, 8% with 3/4-helmets, 4% with modular helmets, 4% with novelty helmets, and 2% with no helmet. The risk of neck injury varied little across helmet types, ranging from 8.6% to 9.4%, and riders with no helmet had neck injury risk of 11.4%. A multivariate model found no significant differences in neck injury risk (p=0.984), after adjusting for rider role (operator vs passenger), license status, day of week, and collision type.

Conclusions: This analysis found that the risk of neck injury was notably invariant across helmet types. These findings refute assertions that the use of motorcycle helmets causes neck injury during traffic collisions, and alleviate concerns that interventions to increase proper helmet by motorcyclists will inadvertently result in increases in neck injuries.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the primary types of motorcycle helmets in use in California Describe how we collected supplemental helmet information during the investigation of motorcycle collisions during a one-year period Describe how the type of helmet worn by collision-involved motorcyclists in California influenced the risk of neck injury Discuss the strengths, limitations, and future steps of this study

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Master's candidate in Biostatistics at UC Berkeley and I have a BS in Statistics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I have been working on Tom Rice's motorcycle safety research as his graduate student researcher.
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.