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Aggressive Traffic Enforcement: A Simple and Effective Injury Prevention Program

Davis, James W. MD, FACS; Bennink, Lynn D. RN; Pepper, David R. MD; Parks, Steven N. MD, FACS; Lemaster, Deborah M. RN, MSN; Townsend, Ricard N. MD, FACS

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care:
doi: 10.1097/01.ta.0000204031.06692.0f
Original Articles
Abstract

Purpose: To investigate whether an aggressive traffic violation enforcement program could reduce motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), injury collisions, fatalities, and fatalities related to speed, and decrease injury severity in crash victims treated at the trauma center.

Methods: A vigorous enforcement program was established within Fresno, Calif, city boundaries using increased traffic patrol officers. Data on citations, collisions, fatal collisions, and fatalities related to speed, as well as injury severity from the trauma registry, were collected for the year before program onset (2002), during the first year (2003), and after full implementation (2004). U.S. Census Bureau information was used for population. Statistical analysis was performed using Fisher’s exact test and independent samples t test with significance attributed to p < 0.05.

Results: There were significant increases in citations issued, with marked decreases in motor vehicle crashes, injury collisions, fatalities, and fatalities related to speed. There was a decrease in admissions from MVCs, a significant decrease in the number of patients with moderate injury severity (Injury Severity Score of 10–16; p < 0.01), a decrease in hospital length of stay for all MVC victims, and a decrease in hospital charges for MVC patients. These changes were not seen in the area of Fresno County outside the area of increased enforcement.

Conclusions: Aggressive traffic enforcement decreased MVCs, crash fatalities, and fatalities related to speed, and it decreased injury severity. This is a simple, easily implemented injury prevention program with immediate benefit.

Author Information

From the University Medical Center, UCSF/Fresno Medical Education Program, Fresno, California.

Submitted for publication October 11, 2005.

Accepted for publication January 3, 2006.

Presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, September 22–24, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia.

Address for reprints: James W. Davis, MD, Department of Surgery, University Medical Center, 445 South Cedar Ave, Fresno, CA 93702; email: jdavis@fresno.ucsf.edu.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.