Death resulting from motor vehicle immersions: The nature of the injuries, personal and environmental contributing factors, and potential interventions

Garen J Wintemute, J. F. Kraus, S. P. Teret, M. A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


We present an epidemiologic characterization of deaths from motor vehicle immersions, based on 77 deaths in 63 motor vehicle immersions in Sacramento County, CA, during 1974-85. All persons were autopsied; all but one of the deaths were due to drowning. Average annual mortality rates per million persons year were 12 for males, four for females, 30 for Hispanics, six for White non-Hispanics, Blacks and Asians. Seventy-one percent of drivers and 60 percent of passengers had a blood alcohol concentration ≥ 22 mmol/L. Most cases (57 percent) had an Injury Severity Score of 1 (minor injury) or 0 (no injury). Alcohol use was associated with higher Injury Severity Scores. Road curvature of 20° or greater was far more common at crash sites than at matched control sites one mile away (OR = 6.57, 95% CI = 2.93, 14.71). Guard rail placement along highly curved sections of roadway may be an effective preventive measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1070
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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