Statement of purpose Side-by-sides (SxSs), which includes utility task vehicles (UTVs) and recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The study objective was to evaluate SxS crashes with respect to demographics, crash mechanisms, and associated risk factors.
Methods/approach A retrospective chart review and analysis was performed of SxS vehicle trauma victims at the University of Iowa from 2008–2013.
Results Thirty-three patients with SxS-related injuries were identified. Two-thirds were males. Over half (55%) were children <16 years of age, and three-quarters were ≤25 years old. About one-third of the crashes occurred on roadways. The crash mechanism was a rollover in two-thirds of the cases. Almost half of the victims were struck and/or pinned by the vehicle. Those in rollovers were significantly more likely to be struck and/or pinned by the vehicle than those ejected or involved in a collision (p = 0.02). There were nearly as many passenger victims (44%) as drivers (56%), and a trend showed children more likely to be passengers (p = 0.09). Still, nearly 40% of the child victims were drivers of the vehicle. No victims were wearing a helmet. Four-fifths of the victims were unrestrained. All six of the patients whose primary mechanism of injury was vehicle ejection were children <16 years and unrestrained. One-half of adult victims were obese with a BMI ≥30; none of the child victims were obese. Of the 70% of adults tested for alcohol, two-thirds were positive.
Conclusions Although most current SxS models have roll bars, lack of safety belt use is reducing their benefit. Youth suffer a high percentage of the SxS injuries, often while driving.
Significance and contributions No previous reports specifically address the epidemiology of SxS crashes. Study results support prohibiting children from operating SxSs. Certain adult populations appear at risk and may require targeted interventions.
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