Jun 11, 2019 01:43 PM EDT
A Rutgers study has discovered that facial and head injuries from riding electric scooters have tripled over the past decade. The use of electric scooter has been increasing in popularity as a more environmentally friendly and efficient alternative to gas vehicles. State helmet laws, however, vary, and the study discovered that many people are being injured from not wearing appropriate protective equipment.
Published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology, the study analyzed records in the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance system between 2008 and 2017 to determine the types and frequency of head and facial injuries resulting from motorized scooters. The system collates data from about 100 participating hospitals, which is then extrapolated to provide national estimates on injuries related to consumer products.
The study discovered that over the decade researches, emergency departments recorded 990 head or facial injuries sustained from the use of the electric scooter, or 32,000 estimated injuries nationwide. The incidences tripled annually from an estimated 2,325 nationwide in 2008 to an estimated 6,947 in 2017.
Men between the ages of 19 to 65 are most of the people injured: 33 percent were children between the ages of 6 to 12. The author of the study, Amishav Bresler, a resident at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said that children use motorized scooter marketed as toys, but in reality, specific models can reach speeds of almost 30 miles per hour.
The most frequent were closed head injuries like concussion and bleeding or bruising of the brain, followed by facial cuts or abrasions. The study revealed that about 5 percent of the injuries were fractured, most frequently in the skull or nose.
Where helmet use was recorded in the records, 66 percent of those injured were not wearing helmets. Also, the study discovered that the use of helmet increased with age, from about 19 percent in toddlers to about 67 percent in senior riders.
Bresler talks about a significant variation in state laws regarding motorized scooters, giving instance that the District of Columbia classified motorized scooters as "personal mobility devices" that are not subjected to inspection or helmet laws while a new law in New Jersey regulates electric scooters in the same way as a traditional bicycles, requiring helmets in only those under 17.
Explaining further, Bresler noted that the United States should standardize electric scooter laws and license requirements should be considered to decrease the risky behaviors linked with motorized scooter use. Talking about the success of such legislation in other countries, Bresler said that in 2000, Italy implemented a law mandating helmet use for all types of recreational scooter drivers, legislation that reduced head trauma in scooter riders from about 27 out of 10,000 people before the law passed to about 9 out of 10,000 people afterward.
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