Hospitalizations and Fatalities in Crashes With Light Trucks

Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Jinhyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined 2-car crashes including one passenger car and one light truck (van, minivan, pickup truck, or sport utility vehicle) and investigated the likelihood of hospitalization, hospitalization charges, and the likelihood of fatality of an occupant by vehicle type differentiating between passengers and drivers. Methods: We used unique data from Minnesota's Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) linked with hospital discharge data from 2004 to 2005. We focused on police-reported crashes that involved 2 vehicles, one car and one light truck. First, we estimated models to predict the likelihood of hospitalization. Next, we estimated models to predict hospitalization charges among the hospitalized. Finally, we modeled the likelihood of fatality. In all models, we distinguished between the 2 vehicle types and controlled for a broad range of occupant, crash, and vehicle characteristics. We estimated separate models for passengers and drivers. Results: We found that in a crash between a car and a light truck, drivers of light trucks were less likely to be hospitalized (odds ratio [OR] = 64%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 59-70%) and killed (OR = 35%; 95% CI, 18-68%) relative to the drivers of cars. Similarly, passengers of light trucks had a lower likelihood of hospitalization (OR = 66%; 95% CI, 57-77%) and fatality (OR = 14%; 95% CI, 3-54%) relative to the passengers of cars. Among hospitalized occupants, we did not find statistically significant differences in hospital charges between light truck drivers and car drivers, but hospital charges for hospitalized light truck passengers were 59% (95% CI, 40-87%) of the hospital charges of hospitalized car passengers. Conclusions: Though previous studies have shown high fatality costs associated with light trucks, this study is the first to explore the hospitalization costs associated with these vehicles. The existing traffic liability systems (tort or no-fault systems) likely fail to fully make light trucks accountable for costs they impose on other cars, pedestrians, and other road occupants. Our findings suggest the importance of a close examination of a broad range of cost implications even beyond hospitalization and fatality costs to evaluate the optimal amount of corrective taxes or other corrective policies in future research. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Traffic Injury Prevention to view the supplemental file.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • fatality
  • hospitalization
  • light trucks
  • traffic safety


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