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Racial and ethnic disparities in motor vehicle crash-related outcomes in North Carolina surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Lucas M Neuroth1,2,
  2. Bhavna Singichetti1,2,
  3. Katherine J Harmon2,3,
  4. Anna E Waller2,4,
  5. Rebecca B Naumann1,2
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Injury Prevention Research Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  3. 3 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Carolina Center for Health Informatics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Lucas M Neuroth, Department of Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill NC 27599, North Carolina, USA; lneuroth{at}unc.edu

Abstract

Long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on racial and ethnic disparities in motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries and death are poorly understood. This study aimed to characterize trends and investigate the heterogeneity of MVC-related disparities in North Carolina across several data sources. Crash reports, emergency department visit records, and death certificates from 2018 to 2021 were used to calculate monthly population-rates of MVC-related public health outcomes. We estimated trendlines using joinpoint regression and compared outcomes across racial and ethnic classifications. MVC and MVC-related injury rates declined in conjunction with NC’s stay-at-home order, while rates of severe outcomes remained unimpacted. By December 2021 rates of MVC-related outcomes met or exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with the highest rates observed among non-Hispanic Black individuals. Racial and ethnic disparities in MVC-related outcomes remained prevalent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These results highlight the importance of a holistic approach to traffic injury surveillance when assessing the impact of MVCs.

  • Epidemiology
  • Surveillance
  • Motor vehicle � Occupant
  • COVID-19
  • Injury Diagnosis

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Footnotes

  • Contributors LMN, BS, KJH, and RBN contributed to the conceptualization and design of the study. LMN and BS cleaned the data and drafted the initial manuscript. LMN analyzed the data. All authors contributed to interpreting the data and revising the manuscript. RBN accepts full responsibility for preparation and submission of the manuscript as guarantor.

  • Funding This project was supported by the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (www.roadsafety.unc.edu), a U.S. Department of Transportation National University Transportation Center (Award No. 69A3551747113). Support was also provided by the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, which is supported by an award (5R49/CE003092) from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.