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Injuries associated with snowmobiles, Alaska, 1993-1994.
  • Published Date:
    1999 Jan-Feb
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 114(1):48-52
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.47 MB]

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  • Description:
    To characterize the nature and burden of snowmobile injuries in Alaska by examining injury deaths and hospitalizations associated with snowmobiles and comparing these with injury deaths and hospitalizations associated with on-road motor vehicles.|The authors used vital statistics, medical examiner, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Transportation records to identify snowmobile injury deaths, and used vital statistics mortality files to identify on-road motor vehicle injury deaths. The Alaska Trauma Registry provided data on hospitalizations. The number of vehicles in use in 1993-1994 was estimated from snowmobile sales and on-road motor vehicle registrations.|For 1993-1994, injury death and hospitalization rates were greater for snowmobiles than for on-road motor vehicles. In northern Alaska, snowmobile injuries outnumbered on-road motor vehicle injuries. A total of 26 snowmobile injury deaths were reported; 7 decedents drowned after breaking through ice and 8 were ejected from vehicles. More than half (58%) of the snowmobile injury deaths involved a natural object such as a boulder, ravine, or river. Of the 17 decedents for whom blood alcohol concentrations were available, 11 (65%) had blood alcohol concentrations > or = 100 mg/dL.|Natural obstacles and alcohol intoxication contribute to the high risk of injury death associated with snowmobile use. Injury control strategies, including trail development and improvement, should be evaluated.

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