Soldiers in highly mobile multipurpose wheeled vehicles, or Humvees, are more likely to be involved in a crash than in any other military vehicle, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.
“Nearly half of all those involved in motor vehicle crashes in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006 were in Humvees at the time of the crash,” Keshia Pollack, PhD, lead author and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stated in a press release.
Pollack and colleagues analyzed data from 964 Humvee crashes from the US Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center on military mobile vehicles. Humvee occupants represented 52% of all military vehicle-related crashes, according to the abstract. Trauma patients were significantly at risk for injury if they operated Humvee or if they were in the gunner position. Combat situations also posed a significant risk for injury, Pollack noted.
“The trend for injuries from army Humvee crashes varied. For fatal injuries, 2002 had the lowest number, followed by a peak in 2003 and then a decline through 2006. This trend was not statistically significant. However, for those who sustained a nonfatal injury, the trend was statistically significant,” Pollack told Orthopedics Today, a sister publication of O&P Business News. “Over time, there were more non-fatal injuries resulting from Humvee crashes, with a greater proportion of crashes leading to injury occurring from 2004 to 2006 vs. the earlier period of 2002 to 2003.”
Using the clinical setting to educate soldiers on proper methods to prevent crashes and injuries in the future is important, she added.
“I believe that when a person interacts with the health care system, there is an opportunity for education. We know that health care providers are an important source of health information for their patients,” Pollack said. “Taking some time pre- and post-survey to discuss prevention of future crashes and related injury can be part of the conversation during visits.
Although the results of the study have been shared with the military, Pollack said her group would continue to identify potential risk factors to prevent injury in the military and to educate soldiers on effective prevention strategies. — by Jeff Craven
Disclosure: Research was funded through grants from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Defense.