Increase in Motor Vehicle Crash Severity: An Unforeseen Consequence of COVID-19


During the stay at home (SAH) order of the COVID-19 pandemic, motor vehicle crashes declined overall. Despite this, the severity of motor vehicle crash injuries during the SAH order remains unknown. A recent study led by PISC Senior Scholar Elinore Kaufman, MD, MSHP, and featuring PISC Executive Committee Member Daniel N. Holena, MD, evaluates injury severity in motor crashes during the SAH order of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was drawn from the Pennsylvania Statewide Trauma Registry. Injury severity from pre-pandemic years was compared to injury severity during the pandemic SAH order, from March 2020 to June 2020. Results indicate a 16% increase in injury severity due to motor vehicle crashes, proving that SAH orders had a significant impact on the characteristics of motor vehicle crashes. The team concludes that further analysis of this trend can “inform resource allocation decisions during future pandemics or SAH events.”


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