Immediate impact of 'penalty points legislation' on acute hospital trauma services.
AffiliationDepartment of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., email@example.com
MeSHAccidents, Traffic/prevention & control/*statistics & numerical data
Automobile Driving/*legislation & jurisprudence
Emergency Medical Services
Length of Stay
Wounds and Injuries/epidemiology
MetadataShow full item record
CitationInjury. 2005 Aug;36(8):912-6.
AbstractRoad traffic accident (RTA) related mortality and injury may be reduced by up to 40% with the introduction of 'road safety' legislation. Little is known regarding changes in pattern of injury and overall resource impact on acute trauma services. This prospective study examines RTA related admissions, injuries sustained and resultant sub-speciality operative workload in a Level 1 Trauma Centre during the 12 months immediately prior to and following the introduction of 'penalty points' legislation. Eight hundred and twenty RTA related admissions were identified over the 24-month period from 01/11/2001 to 31/10/2003. There was a 36.7% decrease in RTA related admissions subsequent to the introduction of new legislation. Bed occupancy was almost halved. However, the relative Orthopaedic workload increased from 34% to 41% with a 10% increase in relative bed occupancy. The pattern of orthopaedic injury was significantly altered with a >50% absolute reduction in high velocity injuries. Curiously, there was no change in the absolute number of spinal fractures seen. This favourable early Irish experience of 'penalty points' legislation mirrors that of worldwide published literature. Our findings demonstrate that the injury reduction effects were primarily enjoyed by non-orthopaedic sub-specialities. Such findings mandate consideration when allocating vital resources to sub-specialities within busy trauma units.
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