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Vehicle Related Injury Patterns During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Has Changed?

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Traffic vehicle injuries, Traffic vehicle collisions, COVID19, Social distancing



Background: Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, normal daily life in the United States (US) has changed dramatically. As the US population shifts to practice social distancing, there are undoubtedly changes in the pattern of traumatic injuries presenting to Emergency Departments across the US. This analysis aims to analyze previously undocumented trends on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the pattern of vehicle related injuries in selected US states.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed utilizing public vehicle collision data gathered from the Department of Transportation of Florida, New York, and Massachusetts from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 regarding 158,341 motor vehicle collisions. Descriptive statistical analysis and linear regression was performed to investigate the counts and trends of motor vehicle collisions and injuries during the study period in order to determine what effect, if any, COVID-19 has had on the incidence and pattern of these events.

Results: In Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, there was a general downward trend of vehicle collisions and vehicle related injuries over this time period, with statistically significant association between number of total vehicle collisions vs. date (p < 0.001), as well as number of vehicle related injuries vs. date (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Incidence of vehicle collisions and vehicle related injuries have significantly decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The creation of improved public transport modalities and use of virtual/remote replacements for social activities could serve as long-term solutions to reduce vehicle collisions and vehicle related injuries.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, v. 38, issue 9, p. 1710-1714