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Moped Collisions among Patients with Revoked Drivers’ Licenses Are a Significant Public Health Problem: A Retrospective Cohort Study

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Many states do not require a license to operate a moped, defined as a motor vehicle with less than 50-cc engine displacement. These vehicles may therefore serve as a mode of transportation for those who are driving without a license and who may have a history of prior high-risk behavior. We hypothesized that those involved in moped collisions were more likely to have previous convictions for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and other non-DWI offenses than those on conventional motorcycles. At a Level I trauma center, we queried the trauma registry from January 2005 to October 2010 for admissions after motorcycle or moped collisions. Classification of mechanism of injury was verified through chart review. Corrections databases from our state were then reviewed for previous convictions for DWI and other offenses. One thousand seventy-three patients over the study period were involved in motorcycle or moped collisions; 94 were from another state. Of the patients identified from our state, 249 had moped collisions and 730 had motorcycle collisions. Forty-nine per cent (121) of moped drivers had a history of DWI versus only 8 per cent (56) of motorcycle drivers (P ≤ 0.05). Sixty-four per cent (161) of moped drivers were previously convicted of a crime versus 20 per cent (146) of those on motorcycles (P ≤ 0.05). Moped drivers were significantly more likely to have a prior conviction of DWI as well as prior convictions of other crimes, establishing a pattern of disregard for the law. The use of these vehicles without a license likely presents a risk to public safety. Legislation to require licensing before moped operation should be considered.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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