The occupational risk of motor vehicle collisions for emergency medicine residents

Acad Emerg Med. 1999 Oct;6(10):1050-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1999.tb01191.x.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) and near-crashes as reported by emergency medicine (EM) residents following various ED shifts.

Methods: A survey was sent to all allopathic EM-2-EM-4 residents in May 1996 asking whether they had ever been involved in an MVC or near-crash while driving home after an ED shift. The residents' night shift schedules, self-reported tolerance of night work, ability to overcome drowsiness, sleep flexibility, and morningness/eveningness tendencies also were collected.

Results: Seventy-eight programs participated and 62% of 1,554 eligible residents returned usable surveys. Seventy-six (8%, 95% CI = 6% to 10%) residents reported having 96 crashes and 553 (58%, 95% CI = 55% to 61%) residents reported being involved in 1,446 near-crashes. Nearly three fourths of the MVCs and 80% of the near-crashes followed the night shift. Stepwise logistic regression of all variables demonstrated a cumulative association (R = 0.19, p = 0.0004) that accounted for 4% of the observed variability in MVCs and near-crashes. Univariate analysis showed that MVCs and near-crashes were inversely related to residents' shiftwork tolerance (p = 0.019) and positively related to the number of night shifts worked per month (p = 0.035).

Conclusions: Residents reported being involved in a higher number of MVCs and near-crashes while driving home after a night shift compared with other shifts. Driving home after a night shift appears to be a significant occupational risk for EM residents.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Emergency Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • United States
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*