The impact of a standard enforcement safety belt law on fatalities and hospital charges in Ohio

The purpose of this study was to analyze linked crash and hospital data to determine the effect that enactment of a standard enforcement safety belt law in Ohio would have on hospital charges and direct medical costs due to motor-vehicle crashes, focusing on the impact to the state's Medicaid system. The linkage and analysis was conducted as part of the Ohio Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) program. Current safety belt usage in Ohio stands at 82% with its secondary enforcement safety belt law. Assuming an increase in usage to 92% through standard enforcement, over $15.3 million in medical costs to Medicaid for injuries that occur in a single year could be prevented over a 10-year period. Cumulative savings could reach more than $91.2 million during the 10-year period. In addition, 161 fatalities could have been prevented in one year had all unbelted occupants who sustained a fatal injury instead chosen to wear their safety belt. Clearly, substantial progress can be made in reducing the number of deaths and injuries, as well as medical costs associated with motor-vehicle crashes, by strengthening safety belt laws and increasing safety belt usage in Ohio.


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  • Accession Number: 01155634
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 22 2010 9:28AM