Fall 2010
Facts and Figures

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Car crash

The School of Medicine and the Nevada Department of Public Safety are compiling and tracking insurance costs to taxpayers for uninsured pedestrian accidents.

Cost of traffic crashes to Nevada

The University of Nevada School of Medicine and the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety, formed a partnership to establish the state's first repository of medical information regarding traffic-related injuries, deaths and crash records.

  • John Fildes, M.D., FACS is the principal investigator of the multi-year grant funding this initiative along with Deborah Kuhls, M.D., FACS and Timothy Browder M.D., FACS as co-investigators.
  • In 2009, Nevada motor vehicle crash records and the University Medical Center trauma registry data were linked to create a database that includes crash scene data, emergency medical services and hospital information.
  • This repository is the first of its kind in Nevada to track patients from crash scene to hospital discharge. This information allows for a better understanding of the impact of crashes on human life, the cost of care to our medical facilities and to our state economy.
  • Nevada Department of Transportation records from 2004-2007 reported 4,268 pedestrians involved in Nevada crashes.
  • 723 of the 4,268 pedestrians had a direct link to the UMC trauma unit which is staffed by School of Medicine faculty physicians and surgeons.
  • 720 of the 723 UMC trauma records for auto collisions involving pedestrians contained the insurance status of the patient.
  • 374 (51.9 percent) of the 720 patients had insurance; 346 (48.1 percent) had no insurance.
  • Total charges for the 346 uninsured UMC pedestrian trauma patients during 2004–2007 were $25.9 million.
  • If the same costs are applied to the entire 4,268 pedestrians involved in Nevada crashes, the estimated costs for uninsured pedestrians could be as high as $148.2 million.

For further information, contact Bill Brown, project manager, at (702) 671-2270.

Source: Center for Traffic Safety Research, University of Nevada School of Medicine.