This report models the association between the proximity of a fatal crash to a Level 1 or 2 trauma center and the crash scene mortality of the driver in the fatal crash. It does so by comparing drivers who died at the scene of the crash with other injured drivers who survived the crash and were taken to a hospital. Results show that the further that a fatal crash occurs from a Level 1 or 2 trauma center, the more likely it is that the driver will be listed as “died at scene.” The study shows that a driver within the 45- to 60-minute response time coverage area was 1.13 times as likely to be coded as “died at scene” (DAS) compared to a driver within the a 45-minute-or-less (notated as <45) coverage area. Similarly, a driver in the 60-minute-or-longer (notated as 60+) response time coverage area was 1.23 times as likely to be coded as DAS, compared to a driver in the <45 coverage area. Response time coverage area was determined based on American Trauma Society (ATS) data. ATS defined Level 1 and 2 trauma center coverage areas based on the average time from receipt of a 9-1-1 call to patient arrival at a trauma center.
These results do not state a causal relationship, as this report does not take into account other factors that could affect health outcome, such as the treatment that the crash victims might have received from bystanders or emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. Still, this research displays an association between the location of Level 1 and 2 trauma centers and the health outcome of passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes.