Motorcycle accident injury profiles in Jamaica: an audit from the University Hospital of the West Indies

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2009 Sep;16(3):175-8. doi: 10.1080/17457300903024236.


There is little data available on the prevalence of motorcycle accidents, their resultant injuries and the demand on the health care services in Jamaica. We performed a descriptive, analytical study to evaluate the extent of this problem and the need for preventative national policy measures. Between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2007, demographic and clinical data on all motorcycle accident victims admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies were collected in a prospective database. The data were analysed using the SPSS version 12.0. Of 270 motorcycle accident victims, there were 257 (95.2%) males and 13 (4.8%) females. Overall, 134 (49.6%) victims wore helmets at the time of their accident. The more common injuries were as follows: soft tissue trauma 270 (100%); head injuries 143 (53.0%); long bone fractures 126 (46.7%); abdominal injuries 38 (14.1%); thoracic injuries 71 (26.3%); vascular injuries 11 (4.1%). The mean injury severity score was 9.0 (SD 9.4; Median 8; Mode 4). There were 195 patients needing surgical intervention in the form of orthopaedic operations (94), neurosurgical operations (43), abdominal operations (49) and vascular operations (14). The mean duration of hospitalisation was 10 days (SD 11.2; Range 0-115; Median 6; Mode 3). There were 12 (4.4%) deaths, 9 (75%) due to traumatic brain injuries. Fatal injuries were more common in males (11) and un-helmeted patients (10). Motorcycle accidents take a heavy toll on this health care facility in Jamaica. Measures to prevent motorcycle accidents and reduce consequent injuries may be one way in which legislators can preserve precious resources that are spent during these incidents. This can be achieved through active measures such as educational campaigns, adherence to traffic regulations and enforcement of helmet laws.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic* / economics
  • Accidents, Traffic* / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic* / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Databases as Topic
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University*
  • Humans
  • Jamaica / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motorcycles*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification*
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Young Adult