The occupational risk of motor vehicle collisions for emergency medicine residents

Mark T. Steele, O. John Ma, William A. Watson, Harold A. Thomas, Robert L. Muelleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) and near-crashes as reported by emergency medicine (EM) residents following various ED shifts. Methods: A survey was sent to all allopathic EM-2-EM-4 residents in May 1996 asking whether they had ever been involved in an MVC or near-crash while driving home after an ED shift. The residents' night shift schedules, self-reported tolerance of night work, ability to overcome drowsiness, sleep flexibility, and morningness/eveningness tendencies also were collected: Results: Seventy- eight programs participated and 62% of 1,554 eligible residents returned usable surveys. Seventy-six (8%, 95% CI = 6% to 10%) residents reported having 96 crashes and 553 (58%, 95% CI = 55% to 61%) residents reported being involved in 1,446 near-crashes. Nearly three fourths of the MVCs and 80% of the near-crashes followed the night shift. Stepwise logistic regression of all variables demonstrated a cumulative association (R = 0.19, p = 0.0004) that accounted for 4% of the observed variability in MVCs and near-crashes. Univariate analysis showed that MVCs and near-crashes were inversely related to residents' shiftwork tolerance (p = 0.019) and positively related to the number of night shifts worked per month (p = 0.035). Conclusions: Residents reported being involved in a higher number of MVCs and near-crashes while driving home after a night shift compared with other shifts. Driving home after a night shift appears to be a significant occupational risk for EM residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1053
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Automobile driving
  • Emergency medicine residents
  • Fatigue
  • Occupational risk
  • Psychomotor performance
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Traffic accidents
  • Work schedule tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The occupational risk of motor vehicle collisions for emergency medicine residents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this