Registries, such as those for oncology, have demonstrated usefulness in collating information. Trauma care can be improved through the accumulation of local, regional, and state trauma statistics. The efforts to develop a National Trauma Registry in the United States are still in their infancy. A four-page survey questionnaire was returned by each of the 50 State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Directors, as well as the EMS Directors of the District of Columbia and five American possessions, to evaluate the status of state trauma registries in the United States. In 1992, 24 (48%) states had a registry. Development costs average 101, 107 and annual maintenance costs averaged 72, 105. An average of 1.7 fulltime equivalents (FTE) was necessary to maintain the registry. Fourteen (58%) states have effected legislation through the registry. Trauma prevention has been promoted in nine (38%) states and a decreases in mortality recognized through the registry in five (21%) states. Trauma registries are labor intensive and expensive but are effective in decreasing morbidity and mortality. The need for a National Trauma Registry incorporating and comparing data from health care facilities around the United States and its possessions has the potential of improving trauma health care.