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Health Indicator Report of Motor Vehicle Crash Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations

Utah hospitalization and ED charges are greater for injuries sustained from motor vehicle crashes (MVC) than from any other injury causes except falls. In 2006, the total treat-and-release ED charges for MVC injuries came to just under $27 million while total hospitalization charges were nearly $50 million. Moreover, most motor vehicle crash injuries are preventable.

MVC ED Visits by Geography Type, Utah, 2004-2006


ICD-9 Codes: E810-E819, E958.5, E968.5, E988.5.   [[br]] [[br]] Residents of frontier Utah counties ("frontier" counties are those with a population density of six or fewer people per square mile) had a lower rate of MVC ED visits than more densely populated areas. The frontier counties had an overall MVC ED visit rate of 61 per 10,000 population in 2004 similar to 68 per 10,000 population in 2006. During this period, residents of the most populated counties of Utah, with population densities of at least 100 people per square mile, had a higher rate of MVC ED visits than less densely populated areas. These urban counties had an overall MVC ED visit rate of 88 per 10,000 population in 2004 similar to 85 per 10,000 population in 2006. However, although urban county residents had the highest MVC ED visit rate, in 2006, 53% of fatal crashes took place in non-urban locations[2]. Residents of rural areas (with at least 6 and no more than 100 people per square mile) had an overall MVC ED visit rate of 79 per 10,000 population in 2004 similar to 77 per 10,000 population in 2006. The differences in rates between the urban, rural, and frontier areas remained statistically significant every year from 2004 through 2006, though it is likely that if trends continue, the 2007 the rates for frontier and rural areas may become similar. [[br]] [[br]] Data are age-adjusted (2000 U.S. standard population). ED visits include all ED visits, not just treat-and-release.

Data Source

Emergency Department Encounter Database, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Utah Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

All injury cases for this indicator are consistent with the injury case definitions found in the Consensus Recommendations for Using Hospital Discharge Data for Injury Surveillance (2003) developed by the State and Territorial Injury Program Directors Association (STIPDA) Injury Surveillance Workgroup. ICD 9 stands for International Classification of Diseases. It is a coding system maintained by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center of Health Statistics used to classify causes of death on death certificates and diagnoses, injury causes, and medical procedures for hospital and emergency department visits. The U.S. is currently using the 10th revision to code causes of death. The 9th revision (ICD-9) is still used for hospital and emergency department visits.


The number of outpatient emergency department (ED) encounters/inpatient hospitalizations for motor vehicle crash injuries per 10,000 persons in the population. This includes persons who may have died as a result of their injuries. ICD-9 Codes: E810-E819, E958.5, E968.5, E988.5.


ED encounters: The number of emergency department encounters for motor vehicle crash injuries. Hospitalizations: The number of hospitalizations for motor vehicle crash injuries.


Total number of persons in the population of Utah.

How Are We Doing?

In recent years the number of persons arriving in the emergency department due to injuries from motor vehicle crashes has decreased significantly, both in rates and in real numbers. Since 1999, the age-adjusted rate for total MVC ED visits has gone from 105.2 per 10,000 or 24,495 MVCs to 82.8 per 10,000 or 22,296 MVCs in 2006. This is a 21.3% decrease in 7 years. However, in terms of economic impact, progress due to fewer crash related visits have been substantially offset by the overall total dollar cost of those visits, which has nearly doubled from 1999 to 2006.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

For the year 2006, the Utah age-adjusted rate of MVC ED visits was 82.8 per 10,000 population which was substantially lower that the U.S. age-adjusted rate of 106.9 per 10,000 population.

What Is Being Done?

In 1998, the Utah Legislature enacted a "graduated driver licensing" law to address the problem of teenage driving and MVCs. By requiring newly-licensed drivers to be accompanied by a parent or other experienced driver for the first six months, the law aims to help teenage drivers develop responsible driving behaviors. The Utah Legislature has also passed a variety of laws to promote safety belt usage, but there is room for improvement. A 2007 observational study by the Utah Highway Safety Office indicates 86.8% of Utahns are using seat belts. Transportation agencies also play a role in decreasing crashes as they design and build safer roadways. The Utah Comprehensive Safety Plan was a collaborative effort by the federal government, state agencies, and public and private businesses that outlines strategies for reducing MVC in Utah. The plan can be downloaded at,V:1998.

Available Services

Call 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) for information on child safety seats.

Health Program Information

The Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) and local health departments are targeting a wide range of community-based traffic safety interventions that encourage pedestrian and bicycle safety, including Green Ribbon Month, Walk to School Day, and pedestrian and bicycle rodeos. Bicycle safety interventions include supporting National Bike Month in May, promoting helmet use, and instructing bicyclists and drivers on road safety. The VIPP also conducts an annual statewide observational survey to determine helmet use rates. Safe Kids Utah has been a catalyst in statewide efforts to increase child safety restraint use. By partnering with community service agencies, the Utah Department of Public Safety, and other organizations, Safe Kids Utah has distributed thousands of low- and no-cost car safety seats and booster seats and educated hundreds of thousands of Utah families about the importance of using safety restraints. VIPP also promotes traffic safety through the media and by networking with a variety of statewide partners.
Page Content Updated On 04/04/2012, Published on 07/27/2015
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 24 August 2019 5:13:16 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:28 MDT