A comparison of alcohol-related morbidity, mortality, and seatbelt use before and after Oregon's adoption of primary seatbelt legislation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6q182q41s

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  • Reducing the number of intoxicated motorists and increasing seatbelt use are two strategies that have effectively reduced morbidity and mortality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however, suggests that reductions in alcohol-related fatalities and injuries are the result of implementing strategies associated with enforcement and judicial processing of driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws. Accepting this suggestion makes it easy to overlook any contribution made by seatbelts. No studies could be found that examined how seatbelt use, as well as morbidity and mortality, changed among intoxicated motorists after enactment of primary seatbelt laws. Mortality data was obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS). Morbidity data was obtained from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Traffic Safety Section. The factors of gender, age, alcohol involvement, and seatbelt use were used to compare 3,110 major injuries and 1,390 deaths that occurred between 1988-90 prior to Oregon's adoption of primary seatbelt legislation with 2,304 major injuries and 1,124 deaths that occurred between 1991-93. Males and females involved in fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes were found to have had the greatest reduction in mortality after enactment of primary seatbelt legislation. The likelihood of males (involved in fatal, alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes) wearing their seatbelts after adoption of the law was 4.08 times greater than before adoption of the law (OR=4.08, 95% CI=2.68, 6.23 p<10⁻⁶). The likelihood of females (involved in fatal, alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes) wearing their seatbelts after adoption of the law was 4.56 times greater than before adoption of the law (OR=4.56, 95% CI=2.47, 8.49 p<10⁻⁶). Following adoption of seatbelt legislation, there was also a decrease in alcohol-related injuries for both males and females. The likelihood of males (involved in alcohol-related major injury crashes) wearing their seatbelts after adoption of the seatbelt law was 2.68 times greater than before adoption of the law (OR=2.68, 95% CI=1.73, 4.15 p<10⁻⁵). The likelihood of females (involved in alcohol-related major injury crashes) wearing their seatbelt after adoption of the seatbelt law was 3.8 times greater than before adoption of the law (OR=3.80, 95% CI=2.00, 7.27 p<10⁻⁵). Reductions in morbidity and mortality appear to be more likely the result of increased seatbelt use rather than reduced alcohol involvement because the percent of alcohol-related mortality decreased only three percent (3%) and alcohol-related morbidity decreased only two percent (2%).
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  • 1996-06
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