Crashes of military vehicles account for nearly one-third of annual soldier fatalities and are among the top five causes of hospitalization, according to new Hopkins research.
Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy examined the risk factors for injuries to U.S. soldiers from crashes of Humvees and founded the greatest risk of danger came to the driver or gunner of the vehicle.
The study, published in the August issue of the journal Military Medicine, was the the first published analysis of the risk deployed soldiers face in Humvees.
"Nearly half of all those involved in motor vehicle crashes in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006 were in Humvees at the time of the crash," said principal investigator Keshia Pollack, an associate professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It's critical that we consider risk factors for these crashes, and use this knowledge to develop injury prevention programs and policies."Researchers analyzed data on U.S. Armyvehicle crashes from 1999 to 2006 collected by the Army Safety Management Information System. They focused on the sub-population of active duty U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard soldiers involved in military vehicle crashes in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedomand Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The finding that the odds of being injured when the crash occurred in combat indicates that in a high-stress situation, the soldier may be distracted or less likely to take self-protective measures or follow safety regulations," said study co-author Susan P. Baker, a professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.