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Comparison of Seat Belt Use and Injury Outcomes Between Vermont and New Hampshire

John E Sutton, Jr., James Whedon
Dartmouth-Hitchcock mediacl Center, Lebanon, NH

Objective: Determine the frequency of seat belt use and it's effect on Injury outcomes
Design: Retrospective analysis of Trauma Registry data
Setting: Level I Trauma Center in the center of rural areas receiving patients from each state
Patients: Patients entered in the registry from 10/01/04-9/30/04 with E-codes 811.0 through 816.1
Interventions: None
Main Outcome Measures: % use of seat belts, Mean ISS,Mortality, Mean ICU days, Mean Hospital days
Results: 53% greater seatbelt use for Vermont patients
13% higher ISS for unrestrained patients
175% higher mortality for unrestrianed patients
105% longer ICU stay for unrestrained patients
42% longer hospital stay for unrestrained patients
Conclusions: Mandatory seat belt laws seem to result in higher utilization of seat belt use in Vermont compared to New Hampshire. Patients that are restrained are less severely injuried with lower utilization of hospital resources. New Hampshire remains the only state in the union without an adult seat belt law. The "Live Free or Die" philosophy of New Hampshire should be re-examined to allow for mandatory seat belt laws.

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