Objective: 1) To develop a profile of Hispanic motor vehicle trauma victims in Illinois, 2) to ascertain whether differences exist between Hispanic and general-Illinois-population motor vehicle trauma victims, and 3) to identify potential target areas for future injury intervention programs.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of Illinois motor vehicle trauma patients admitted from July 1991 to June 1992 was made. Participants were motor vehicle trauma victims (drivers and passengers) who presented to one of 73 level I or level II trauma centers throughout Illinois and were entered into the Illinois Trauma Registry (ITR) from July 1, 1991, through June 30, 1992.
Results: Of the 12,299 motor vehicle trauma victims in the ITR, 771 (6.3%) were Hispanic, 8,979 (73.0%) were white, 1,115 (9.1%) were black, and 1,434 (11.6%) were other. When compared with the other racial groups, the group of Hispanic victims were younger (25.2 vs 33.2 years), had higher male predominance (72.8% vs 60.9%), and had the lowest rate of safety equipment/occupant restraint use (21.7% vs 34.7%). A high alcohol use rate (30.7%) and high mean serum ethanol levels (44 mmol/L; 0.2 mg%) were noted. When contrasted with other racial/ethnic groups, the Hispanic victims had lower Injury Severity Scale scores (p < 0.001), but mean hospital charges tended to be higher, with fewer alternative sources of payment (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Using age-adjusted data from the ITR, Hispanic motor vehicle trauma victim features differ significantly from those of other racial groups. Effective health maintenance and injury prevention strategies should address the basis for these differences.