Objective: To analyze the epidemiology and epizootiology of moose-motor vehicle collisions (MMVC) and outcomes in severely injured patients to identify variables that might be modified to reduce the impact of this mutually deleterious interspecies interaction.
Design: Wildlife and Traffic Safety databases permitted retrospective, population-based assessment of MMVC epidemiology. A case series compiled from hospital trauma registries characterized morbidity and mortality from MMVC.
Setting: New Hampshire and Maine area.
Patients: All victims of MMVC (1980 through 1991) were included in population-based analyses. Twenty-three patients hospitalized at three rural trauma centers (January 1990 through June 1994) were included in the case series.
Main outcome measures: Location, time of day and seasonal occurrence of MMVC were determined. Injury patterns and Injury Severity Scores were analyzed in 23 representative patients. Maine's 1991 traffic and medical data were linked, and factors predictive of injury from MMVC were identified using multivariate logistics.
Results: Most MMVC occur from April through October after dark. Of 23 subjects, 70% sustained head and/or face injuries and 26%, cervical spine injuries. Mortality was 9%. Mean Injury Severity Score was 15.7 (SD=9.0). Safety belt use, rear seat location, and light truck occupancy were associated with reduced injury (p<.05).
Conclusions: Moose-motor vehicle collisions are increasing in rural regions. Prevention programs should emphasize defensive driving and seat belt use, especially during high-risk periods. Injury patterns in MMVC suggest a need for automobile design modifications that better protect the passenger compartment form direct impact.