Injury Related News and Research

May 2008

April 2008


Click here to read MMWR Weekly Report from CDC - April 4, 2008

March 2008


MMWR Weekly Report from CDC - March 7, 2008

Self-Reported Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Persons Aged >65 Years --- United States, 2006

Each year, an estimated one third of older adults fall, and the likelihood of falling increases substantially with advancing age. In 2005, a total of 15,802 persons aged >65 years died as a result of injuries from falls (1). However, the number of older adults who fall and are not injured or who sustain minor or moderate injuries and seek treatment in clinics or physician offices is unknown. To estimate the percentage of older adults who fell during the preceding 3 months, CDC analyzed data from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that approximately 5.8 million persons aged >65 years, or 15.9% of all U.S. adults in that age group, fell at least once during the preceding 3 months, and 1.8 million (31.3%) of those who fell sustained an injury that resulted in a doctor visit or restricted activity for at least 1 day. The percentages of women and men who fell during the preceding 3 months were similar (16.4% versus 15.2%, respectively), but women reported significantly more fall-related injuries than men (35.7% versus 24.6%, respectively). The effect these injuries have on the quality of life of older adults and on the U.S. health-care system reinforces the need for broader use of scientifically proven fall-prevention interventions. Click here to continue reading...



Notice to Readers: Brain Injury Awareness Month --- March 2008

Each year, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. An estimated 5.3 million persons in the United States (nearly 2% of the U.S. population) have a long-term or lifelong need for help in performing activities of daily living as a result of a TBI (1), and an additional 1.6 million sustain a TBI each year (2).

Click here to continue reading.....



February 2008

February 17th - 22nd is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama

For more information on what you can do to be better prepared in case of inclement weather click here.




Emergency vehicles deployed strategically

Tuscaloosa, Alabama- When an emergency involves a heart attack victim or a passenger in an accident fighting for his life, minutes matter. Paramedics are trained to get as quickly as possible to the victims before critical situations turn deadly. But in a rural county, that may not be fast enough. An examination of fatal wreck data reported from Tuscaloosa County during 2006 showed that ambulances took about five minutes to respond to accidents in the city — but 20 minutes to respond to wrecks in rural areas. Click here to continue


CDC Injury Center Response -- Shooting at Northern Illinois University campus
Last week, CDC's Injury Center learned about the tragic events at the Northern Illinois University campus.  In response to this event, we have posted information on the CDC, Injury Center, and Emergency Preparedness and Response homepages specific to school violence, including mental health information for students, parents, and school personnel.

Please see the following links:
Coping with Stress:

Preparing for a Mass Casualty Event:

Coping With a Traumatic Event: Information for Health Professionals:


Evenflo recalls one million Discovery car seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that approximately 1 million Evenflo Discovery child safety seats are being recalled because the seats could fail to adequately protect children in a high-impact side collision. The seats being recalled are Models 390, 391, 534, and 552 manufactured between April 2005 and January 29, 2008. The model numbers and date of manufacture are located on a white label at the bottom of the car seat...Click here to continue reading this story

*Courtesy of


New recall of magnetic toys highlights warning on dangers

Magnabild2 Two Magnabild magnetic building sets, totaling 125,000 units, have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission because the small, powerful magnets inside the pieces can fall out and be swallowed. If multiple magnets are ingested, they can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal...Click here to continue reading this story

*Courtesy of




January 2008

UAB Injury Center Research Associate Receives Transportation Fellowship

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- UAB Injury Control Research Center (ICRC) Research Associate, Despina Stavrinos, was selected to receive the 2007 Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship from the National Highway Institute and US Department of Transportation.  The fellowship enabled Ms. Stavrinos to attend the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C. in mid-January, where she and other Eisenhower Fellows were recognized for their research in transportation and dedication to the field.

Ms. Stavrinos, a 4 th year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology, is conducting research attempting to identify and understand the underlying factors for pedestrian injury risk in children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for her dissertation project. Her research is conducted in the UAB Youth Safety Lab, which studies factors leading to youth unintentional injury, and is directed by UAB ICRC Associate Scientist, Dr. David Schwebel. Using a technologically advanced virtual reality system developed by Dr. Schwebel, Ms. Stavrinos can study the behaviors of children as they cross the street without placing them in harms’ way.

“Attending the national meeting allowed me to witness firsthand all the great strides taking place in transportation research,” said Ms. Stavrinos. “I am hopeful and optimistic that our work with child pedestrians here at UAB will advance our knowledge on this topic and may potentially reduce one of the leading causes of child mortality—pedestrian injury.”

The annual Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program was established in 1992 and encompasses all modes of transportation. The Program seeks to attract the best and brightest minds to the field of transportation research and into the transportation workforce. It is intended to help upgrade the scope of knowledge of the entire transportation community in the United States. Selection criteria for student awards include applicants' academic achievements, recommendations, and likelihood for pursuit of a career in transportation.

January 29, 2008

Media contact: Carrie Connolly


December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is pleased to announce that The Committee on Trauma, American College of Surgeons and The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy are recipients of the 2007 Injury Prevention and Control Health Impact Award.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is honoring the Committee on Trauma (COT), AmericanCollege of Surgeons for requiring trauma centers to screen patients for alcohol problems. The requirement for alcohol screening and interventions in trauma centers makes the COT the first health care organization to mandate provision of an evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention mental health benefit in hospitalized patients.

CDC is honoring The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy for the conduct of high quality research that is applied to programs and policies to reduce the incidence, severity, and consequences of injuries and for their integration of research and practice with the education of injury prevention and control leaders of tomorrow.

2007 marks the inaugural year of the annual Injury Prevention and Control Health Impact Awards. CDC established these awards to: recognize efforts in achieving greater health impact in the field of injury prevention; promote best practices and success stories in the field of injury prevention and control; and, demonstrate CDC’s commitment to achieving health impact. Congratulations to The Committee on Trauma, American College of Surgeons and The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.

September 2007

August 2007

Katherine Harper the ICRC's Associate Director for Education, Training, and Service recently was a guest of Birmingham's Fox affiliate to discuss the dangers of lead paint and the recent toy recalls.

*Quicktime required

Using Virtual To Improve Child Safety

ICRC scientist Dr. David Schwebel discusses the potential benfits of using virtual reality as a tool to help teach children how to properly cross the street.

*Quicktime required

June 2007

Injuries from Animal Bites Can Be Prevented

Animal bites, especially dog bites, are a significant source of injury each year, especially among children. Dog bites are the most common but cats, ferrets and wild animals also bite people. Each year, about 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs and 800,000 of those bitten seek medical attention. Half of these are seen in the emergency room and about a dozen die. The primary victims are children, especially boys. Fortunately, steps can be taken to prevent most bites...More


Parents encouraged to "Ask on ASK Day."

ASK Day is a national day of focus on the lifesaving message of the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign. This is a day to bring special awareness to the injuries and death caused by unintentional gun violence towards children, which occurs far too frequently in this country. ASK Day will take place on Thursday, June 21, the first day of summer, a time of year when children play more often in other homes...More



For most of us, home is a safe haven. However, every day in homes across America, 55 people die and another 58,000 people are injured and need medical care. Many simple things can be done to help save lives and prevent injuries. Installing the right safety products and planning ahead can prepare you to deal with whatever may arise, and could even save your life...More


May 2007

UAB Injury Center Says Practice Safe Boating

Media Contact:
Bob Shepard
(205) 934-8934

Posted on May 23, 2007 at 1:45 p.m.BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – People have so many reasons for not wearing a life jacket while boating. “I know how to swim.” “It doesn’t look cool.” “Nothing will happen to me.” The statistics say otherwise. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 87 percent of the nearly 700 people who died in boating incidents in 2005 were not wearing life jackets.“Alabama ranks in the top 10 nationally for recreational boating fatalities,” said Katherine Terry, M.P.H., program manager for the UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Injury Control Research Center (ICRC). “Putting on a life jacket is the first and best precaution boaters should take to stay safe while on the water.”National Safe Boating Week, using the theme “Wear It!”, is May 19-25. It is designed to promote life jacket use to the approximately 78 million people who take to North America’s waterways each year.It's the law in Alabama that everyone on board a vessel has a life jacket available. All children less than 8 years of age must wear a life jacket while on a boat, as well as anyone being towed by a boat or riding a Jet Ski or Sea Doo. “This year during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the boating season, remember to be a safe, responsible boater, always wear your life jacket, and be alert and aware while on the water,” Terry said. “By practicing these simple steps, you can save your life as well as the lives of the people boating with you. Boat Smart. Boat Safe. WEAR IT!”

Visit for campaign materials and additional safe boating resources.


UAB Injury Control Research Center Reminds Alabamians to "Click it or Ticket"

Media Contact:
Kristen Ruggeri
(205) 934-8935

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB Injury Control Research Center (ICRC) has some advice for anyone who plans on driving this weekend: Wear a seatbelt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement agencies plan to crack down and target nighttime drivers as part of its nation-wide “Click-it-or-Ticket” campaign. Recent NHTSA research demonstrates that seat belt use declines substantially at night, and the odds of being killed in a motor vehicle accident are three times greater than during the day.Fifteen thousand vehicle occupants died in traffic accidents at night in 2005. More than half of them were not wearing a seatbelt. The ICRC supports this national initiative to step-up law-enforcement activities, especially during Memorial Day weekend when more drivers are likely to be on the road.“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes,” said Katherine Terry, M.P.H., program manager of the ICRC. “When worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to those in the front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans.”

The hundreds of injuries related to motor vehicle crashes cost this state alone nearly $50 million each year, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Still, recent surveys show that only 79 percent of Alabamians wear seat belts regularly. By increasing the seat belt usage rates to 85 percent, at least another 44 lives could be saved this year in motor vehicle crashes and another 456 injuries could be prevented.


April 2007


March 2007

Click here to read the March 2007 MSNBC specieal report: Brain Injuires A 'Silent Epidemic'


February 2007


January 2007


January- December 2006

TV Programs Score Poorly In Seatbelt/Helmet Use

Media Contact:
Bob Shepard
(205) 934-8934

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The use of seatbelts and helmets by television characters while riding in cars, bicycles or motorcycles is significantly lower than the actual usage of these safety measures by Americans, according to new research from UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham). And the researchers in UAB’s Center for Injury Sciences say the television industry should do better. In findings published in the December issue of Injury Prevention, the team reports that seatbelt use was depicted in 62 percent of individuals in television programs. Actual use by Americans is 80 percent. The prevalence of motorcycle helmet use was 47 percent in television against 60 percent of actual use. Television showed only 9 percent bicycle helmet use as opposed to actual use of 40 percent.“There is no doubt that seatbelt and helmet use reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury from vehicle crashes,” said Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., associate director for research at the Center for Injury Sciences and one of the study authors. “Since Americans watch more than four hours of TV per day, how safety behaviors are depicted on television can have tremendous influence on public perception of seatbelt and helmet use.” McGwin says that television commercials do a much better job of presenting safe behaviors than television programming. Seatbelt use is depicted in 86 percent of individuals in commercials, motorcycle helmet use 100 percent and bike helmet use 84 percent.The researchers examined the 20 most popular TV programs on the four major U.S. television networks over a four-week period in the summer of 2005. These programs are viewed by approximately 15 million individuals, with the top programs seen by 30 million people.“The ability of television programs to influence behavior should not be underestimated,” McGwin said. “We suggest that programmers have a responsibility to promote safe transportation behaviors by the characters in their shows.”McGwin also pointed out that many U.S. television shows are exported to other countries where seatbelt and helmet usage vary widely.

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among Americans under age 40 and the fifth leading cause overall. Motor vehicle injuries account for 42 percent of injury related death. Seatbelt use has been shown to reduce the risk of death by at least 50 percent. Motorcycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by 72 percent and risk of death by 29 percent. Bicycle helmets have a similar injury risk reduction. Click Here


Click Here for Insight PDF


U.S. Highway Deaths Increase in 2005 Wires
Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Traffic deaths in the United States reached their highest levels since 1990, the government reported Tuesday, fueled by an increase in motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 43,443 people were killed on the highways last year, up 1.4 percent from 42,836 in 2004. It was the highest number of fatalities in a single year since 1990, when 44,599 people were killed.The fatality rate also grew slightly to 1.47 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, an increase from 1.45 in 2004. It was the first increase in the fatality rate since 1986."We have no tolerance for any numbers higher than zero," said Acting Transportation Secretary Maria Cino. "Motorcyclists need to wear their helmets, drivers need to buckle up, and all motorists need to stay sober."The annual report found that motorcycle fatalities rose for the eighth straight year, growing 13 percent since 2004. The government said 4,553 motorcyclists died in 2005, compared with 4,028 in 2004. Nearly half of the people who died were not wearing helmets. Pedestrian deaths increased from 4,675 in 2004 to 4,881 in 2005. NHTSA said it was investigating the increase to try to learn what led to the growth.

Complete internet reference for above summary provided, for your convenience, by UAB-ICRC-SCIB-UTC:

2005 Annual Assessment of Motor Vehicle Crashes Based on The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and The National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS GES) DOT HS 810 639 Released August 22, 2006


Feds want stability control on all cars
The government, impressed by the promise of anti-rollover technology, is expected today to require automakers to include electronic stability control devices on all new vehicles in the coming years. The technology has been hailed by automakers, suppliers and safety advocates for its potential in reducing traffic deaths and rollovers.

"Electronic stability control is the single most important advance in auto safety since the development of the seatbelt," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. "We are pleased to see NHTSA recognizing the value of this system."

About 40% of new vehicles have it as standard equipment and auto industry officials expect it to be available on all vehicles by 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today unveiled proposed rules for stability control that also will include testing standards for auto manufacturers.

One study found that stability control could lead to a reduction of 10,000 deaths a year if all vehicles had the technology, almost one-quarter of the more than 43,000 people killed on the roads annually.

"These are staggering statistics compared to most safety technologies that are installed on the vehicles today. This technology will save lives," said William Kozyra, president and CEO of Continental Automotive Systems, North America, a leading supplier of stability control.

Kozyra called it "the most important automotive safety technology of our generation."
How the system works
The crash-avoidance technology compares the direction the car is moving with its intended path and senses when a driver may lose control, automatically applying brakes to individual wheels to help make it stable and avoid a rollover. Many sport-utility vehicles, vans and pickups already have the equipment.

NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason has said the agency will mandate the equipment, estimating it would save 10,600 lives when fully implemented into the fleet. During a July hearing before Congress, she said it "could be the greatest safety innovation since the safety belt."

Rollovers have had particularly fatal consequences, leading to more than 10,000 deaths a year despite accounting for only about 3% of all crashes. SUVs and other vehicles with high centers of gravity have been susceptible to rollovers.

Automakers have been receptive to the technology and have indicated little resistance in the decision to mandate the equipment because they have already begun to include it on their vehicles, especially on rollover-prone SUVs. Ford and GM had previously announced plans to include the systems on all their vehicles.

Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator and head of Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog, called electronic stability control "breakthrough technology" but said it would be difficult to predict how many lives it could save.

Early in the development of the air bag, she said initial studies predicted it could save about 9,000 people a year, much higher than the 2,300 lives it saves annually.

"Until you get it into production and onto vehicles, you don't know how large the numbers are going to be," Claybrook said.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earlier this year predicted 10,000 deaths could be prevented a year if passenger vehicles had the technology. The study found stability control reduced the risk of single-vehicle rollovers involving SUVs by 80%.

One of the benefits of stability control is that it doesn't require anything from the driver. While other crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure warning, require the driver to react, stability control senses the vehicle veering out of control and stabilizes it.


Cyclists wearing helmets 'more likely to be hit'
Cyclists who wear helmets are more likely to be hit by overtaking vehicles, new research has suggested. Buses and trucks were found to be the worst offenders in the experiment. Drivers get more than 3.1in (8cm) closer to cyclists wearing helmets than they do to bare-headed riders and female cyclists are given more room on the road than male riders, according to a survey from the University of Bath.

Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist, used a bicycle fitted with an ultrasonic distance sensor to record data from more than 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol.

He said drivers were twice as likely to get close to his bicycle when he was wearing the helmet.

Dr Walker said: "Drivers think, 'He knows what he's doing, he won't do anything surprising'. But that's really quite a dangerous thought, particularly as so many cycling novices are told to wear helmets."

Dr Walker, whose research is to be published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, was struck twice during the course of the experiment.

To test another theory, Dr Walker wore a long wig to see if there was any difference in passing distance when vehicles thought they were overtaking a female cyclist.

Vehicles gave him an average of 14cm more space when he was wearing the wig.

Dr Walker said this may be because women are seen as less predictable than men on the roads, or because female cyclists are more rare and so are treated with more caution.

More than 11,000 cyclists were injured and 109 killed on UK roads in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available.

The research comes as Labour considers plans to make bells compulsory on all bicycles. Cyclists would face on-the-spot penalties and even two years in jail if they did not warn pedestrians of their approach.



Seatback strength

The Detroit News
In rear-impact crashes, weak seatbacks can fail, sending their occupants flying backward. In NHTSA tests of high-speed crashes, seats frequently failed.

Better science can improve dated designs

Technical issues delay new standards
By Jeff Plungis / Detroit News Washington Bureau
© Copyright 2002 The Detroit News

WASHINGTON — Anitra Fuller, a 38-year-old social worker, was on her way to work at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh , N.C. , on a rainy morning in 1997.

She was driving a Jeep Wrangler, which she had bought partly because of its rugged appearance. “They look safe,” Fuller said later in a court deposition. Fuller was wearing a seat belt, but that didn’t protect her when her Jeep was rear-ended. The seatback collapsed, and the force of the crash ejected Fuller through the back window.

The next thing she recalls is waking up in an intensive-care unit. She couldn’t feel her legs, so she asked her brother if they had been cut off. He told her she had hit her head and suffered a spinal cord injury. She would never again be able to feel her legs.

Fuller had been a successful professional studying for a doctorate. Now she is a paraplegic, unemployed and dependent on her mother. Fuller’s Jeep met the NHTSA safety standard for seatback strength established in 1971, based on a 1963 recommendation by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It requires a seat to withstand 200 to 300 pounds of force.

In a typical rear-impact crash, seats are subjected to forces four or five times that, according to Kenneth Saczalski, an engineering consultant who specializes in seat design. Saczalski said he is seeing more cases of children being injured and even killed when front seats go flat in rear-impact crashes and hit them. Children are being placed in the back seat because of the dangers of front-seat air bags. Seatbacks regularly fail during NHTSA’s 30-mph rear-impact crash tests to evaluate fuel-tank integrity.

In 1974, NHTSA announced a plan to upgrade the seat standard. In 1979, the effort was abandoned in the face of auto industry opposition. In 1980, NHTSA wrote to manufacturers, noting a disturbing pattern of seat failures in its new-car tests. But the issue faded into the background. Diane Steed, who was NHTSA administrator for most of the Reagan years, said she doesn’t recall seat strength ever coming up in a discussion of things the agency should be doing.

In 1989, Saczalski petitioned NHTSA to increase the seatback standard 17-fold, arguing that such a standard was achievable using state-of-the-art materials and designs. NHTSA granted Saczalski’s petition, saying his proposal that seatbacks be stiffened “warranted further consideration.” The agency asked for comments from the auto industry and other interested parties. It received a flurry of negative responses from automakers. General Motors Corp.wrote that stiffening vehicle seats would “significantly increase costs and mass.” The agency backed off rulemaking and launched more research.

In 1992, NHTSA concluded that improving seating systems was more complex than simply increasing seatback strength. Seats had to be better integrated with head restraints and seat belts for the best results. It said it would undertake more research instead of proposing a new standard. A proposed new standard is expected this year. “There are some tremendous technical issues to resolve,” said NHTSA spokesman Tim Hurd. “If it were easy, it would have been done by now.”

In a 1994 internal GM study, David C. Viano of GM’s Automotive Safety and Health Research Department estimated that better seatback designs across the entire U.S. fleet could save more than 400 lives a year. He also estimated the improvements would prevent 1,000 serious injuries each year. GM subsequently strengthened its seatbacks. Robert Lange, GM’s executive director for structure and safety integration, said the additional research changed the company’s mind. “We are always willing to look at new science. Additional data can change our points of view about things,” he said.

Most automakers already exceed the federal seatback strength requirement. In a trial last year involving a Ford Explorer, Philip Majka, a consultant hired by Ford, testified that most Ford seats are two to three times stiffer than the federal requirement. In responding to the Saczalski petition in 1989, Mercedes-Benz wrote that its seats were designed to remain upright in NHTSA’s much-tougher 30 mph fuel-tank crash test. Many automakers objected to the stiffness suggested by Saczalski in 1989. They argued that too strong a seatback could actually injure people. The potential for whiplash for a person out of position would be especially great — a body bending backward as it travels over a stiff seat. Collapsing seats also absorb some energy in a crash.

One possibility is a seat that doesn’t collapse yet has more energy-absorbing materials. NHTSA has contracted with the University of Virginia to develop a prototype. “We know a lot more now than we did when we wrote that standard,” said Ron Huston, an engineering professor at the University of Cincinnati who specializes in crash dynamics. Huston added that manufacturers in certain cases designed weaker seats after the government rule went into effect in 1968. A new regulation is on NHTSA’s agenda for this year.

Vehicle Seatback Safety (.pdf)