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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 57–61 | Cite as

The Effect of a Community-based Police Surveillance Program on Snowmobile Injuries and Deaths

  • Brian H. Rowe
  • Sandra A. Therrien
  • Jennifer A. Bretzlaff
  • Vic S. Sahai
  • K. V. Nagarajan
  • Gary W. Bota
Article

Abstract

Serious snowmobile injuries are preventable and associated with late-night travel, alcohol use, and speed. We studied the effectiveness of a community-based policing (STOP) program in the prevention of serious injuries related to snowmobile trauma in Sudbury, Ontario. Volunteers were trained in police protocol and were appointed special constables to increase policing on snowmobile trails from 1993–95. Snowmobile admissions and deaths in Sudbury were examined; the pre- (1990–1992) and post- (1993–1995) STOP seasons were compared.

In the pre-STOP period, 102 injuries, 87 admissions, and 15 deaths occurred compared to 57 injuries (p=0.0004), 53 admissions (p=0.00001) and 4 deaths (p=0.13) in the post- STOP period. All other event and demographic features of the crashes remained similar. Significant economic savings were realized from this intervention; acute care costs savings exceeded $70,000/year and costs from death decreased by $5 million. An intervention involving enforcement on snowmobile trails can reduce the incidence of injuries from snowmobile-related trauma.

Résumé

Les blessures graves en motoneige sont évitables et associées aux déplacements en fin de soirée, à la consommation d’alcool et à la vitesse. Nous avons étudié l’efficacité d’un programme communautaire de surveillance (STOP) pour la prévention de blessures graves liées à des accidents de motoneige à Sudbury, en Ontario. Des bénévoles ont été formés au protocole policier et nommés comme agents de police spéciaux pour renforcer la surveillance policière sur les pistes de motoneige de 1993 à 1995. Les hospitalisations et les décès suites à des accidents en motoneige à Sudbury ont été examinés; des comparaisons ont également été faites entre les périodes précédant (1990–1992) et suivant (1993–1995) l’application du programme STOP.

Pour la période précédente, il y a eu 102 blessures, 87 hospitalisations et 15 décès, par comparaison à 57 blessures, (p = 0,0004), 53 hospitalisations (p = 0,00001) et 4 décès (p = 0,13) pour la période ultérieure. Tous les autres facteurs et caractéristiques démographiques des accidents sont apparus similaires. D’importantes économies ont pu être réalisées grâce à cette intervention; les économies au plan des soins intensifs ont dépassé 70 000 $ par an et les coûts associés aux décès ont diminué de 5 millions. Une intervention visant à renforcer la surveillance sur les pistes de motoneige permet de réduire l’incidence de blessures résultant d’accidents liés à des motoneiges.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian H. Rowe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandra A. Therrien
    • 1
  • Jennifer A. Bretzlaff
    • 1
  • Vic S. Sahai
    • 3
  • K. V. Nagarajan
    • 4
  • Gary W. Bota
    • 4
  1. 1.Sudbury General Hospital Lead Trauma ProgramCanada
  2. 2.Division of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Alberta Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Oral Health SciencesEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Northern Health Information PartnershipCanada
  4. 4.Laurentian University Department of Economics and School of Commerce and AdministrationCanada

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