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Lost working days, productivity, and restraint use among occupants of motor vehicles that crashed in the United States


Background: In 2001, 6.3 million passengers were involved in motor vehicle crashes. This study aimed to determine the number of work days lost as a result of motor vehicle crashes and factors that influenced people’s return to work.

Methods: This was a retrospective, population based cohort study of occupants in motor vehicles involved in crashes from the 1993–2001 Crashworthiness Data System produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The sample population of people aged 18–65 years included two groups: occupants who survived and were working before the crash and occupants who were injured fatally and were estimated to have been working before the crash. Multivariate linear regression was used to analyze the impact of restraint use and injury type on return to work.

Results: Overall, 30.1% of occupants of vehicles that crashed missed one or more days of work. A crash resulted in a mean 28.0 (95% confidence interval 15.8 to 40.1) days lost from work, including losses associated with fatalities. The 2.1 million working occupants of vehicles that crashed in 2001 lost a total of 60 million days of work, resulting in annual productivity losses of over $7.5 billion (2964 to 12 075). Unrestrained vehicle occupants accounted for $5.6 billion in lost productivity.

Conclusions: Motor vehicle crashes result in large and potentially preventable productive losses that are mostly attributable to fatal injuries.

  • AIS, Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • ISS, injury severity score
  • Motor vehicle injury
  • accidents/traffic
  • time lost from work
  • economic analysis
  • productivity
  • seat belts

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