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Discovering Patterns in Off-Road Vehicle Injuries: Insights for EMS and Public Health


Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) injuries have been a growing concern over the years, with incidents requiring emergency department treatments increasing annually since 2016. Recognizing this shift, ImageTrend, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, has conducted a study to understand the characteristics of patients involved in these accidents and attended by EMS. The study focused on incidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility task vehicles (UTVs), and dirt bikes, and aimed to identify factors associated with head injuries.

This collaborative research effort sheds light on critical data that can help EMS providers and public health officials better understand and respond to ORV-related emergencies.


Understanding the Scope of ORV Injuries

The study, analyzing data from 2020 to 2023, focused on 9-1-1 ORV incidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility task vehicles (UTVs), and dirt bikes in Missouri. From a total of 488,254 injury-related incidents, 2,827 (0.6%) were ORV-related, highlighting the relatively small but significant presence of these incidents in the broader landscape of EMS responses.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Demographics: The majority of ORV incidents involved males (67%) and individuals of White race (89%). The median age of patients was 31 years, with 16% of incidents involving pediatric patients (<15 years).
  • Incident Locations: Most incidents occurred in metro areas (56%), followed by non-metro (31%) and rural areas (10%).
  • Injury Severity: Head injuries were documented in 37% of ORV incidents. Notably, pediatric patients experienced a higher incidence rate compared to other age groups.


The Role of Helmet Use

One of the significant findings from the study is the impact of helmet use on the severity of injuries. The data revealed that head injuries were more likely to occur in incidents where helmet use was not documented (adjusted Odds Ratio 1.80). This finding underscores the importance of promoting helmet use to reduce the risk of severe injuries in ORV accidents.


Geographic Hotspots

The study identified Jackson, St. Louis, and St. Francois counties as having the highest number of ORV incidents in Missouri. This geographic information can be crucial for public health officials and EMS providers to target specific areas with safety campaigns and resources.


Implications for EMS Providers

Understanding these patterns can significantly enhance the preparedness and response strategies of EMS providers. Here are some practical applications of the study's findings:

  1. Targeted Safety Campaigns: Public health officials and EMS agencies can develop targeted campaigns promoting helmet use, especially in high-incidence areas and among young riders.
  2. Resource Allocation: EMS providers might consider allocating resources more effectively by focusing on regions and demographics with higher incident rates.
  3. Training and Preparedness: EMS personnel should pursue receiving specialized training to handle ORV-related injuries, particularly head traumas, enhancing the quality of prehospital care.


Aligning with Federal Initiatives

This research aligns with broader efforts to enhance safety on the road. Recently, a federal initiative has provided valuable insights to help states reduce motor vehicle crashes. By integrating findings from the ORV injury study with such federal initiatives, states can develop more comprehensive safety strategies that encompass both on-road and off-road vehicle incidents.

ImageTrend is committed to supporting these initiatives by providing robust data analytics and research to inform policy and improve public safety. Our ongoing efforts aim to equip EMS providers, fire departments, and hospitals with the knowledge and tools needed to respond effectively to all types of vehicle-related emergencies.


Advancing EMS Preparedness and Public Safety

As ORV activities continue to be a popular recreational choice, understanding the associated risks and injury patterns becomes increasingly important. This research not only highlights critical data but also offers actionable insights for EMS providers and public health officials. By leveraging this information, we can work towards reducing ORV-related injuries and improving the safety and well-being of our communities.

For more detailed information on the study and its findings, read the full abstract and see how this research can help inform future EMS strategies and public health initiatives.


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