Automatic Crash Notification and Intelligent Transportation Systems
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projectsofme
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26-11-2010, 03:16 PM



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Automatic Crash Notification and Intelligent Transportation Systems


Background
Advancing technology with wireless phone communication and automatic crash notification (ACN) provides real-time information from the scene of a motor vehicle crash and has the potential to more efficiently and effectively mobilize emergency medical resources along the continuum of care. As a result, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) involving ACN and other technologies may improve primary, secondary, and tertiary injury prevention on the nation’s highways and rural roadways. It has been predicted that the effect of ACN on road traffic mortality could be anywhere from 1.5-15% of road traffic deaths. ITS, including ACN, may also enhance trauma systems by having crash data transmitted simultaneously to the 911 dispatch center and trauma center so that this shared information may help providers prepare earlier to aid crash victims


Historically, emergency medicine has triaged and treated patients with injuries from motor vehicle crashes based on external signs and symptoms that indicate potentially significant internal injuries. However, this task is becoming more difficult as the improved crash protection from safer vehicles and restraint system usage has resulted in better protection of the occupant and less obvious external signs of injury. These safety advancements have improved survival and outcomes; however, significant morbidity and mortality still occur.
Although “enhanced 911” capability for wireless phones is available, it has not been widely implemented due to political and other barriers that must be overcome on a local level. The ACN or “black box” technology coupled with a wireless communication system is available now and has been tested by NHTSA in a pilot study conducted in New York by the Calspan Corporation. An example ACN system is depicted as follows.

OPPORTUNITY IN RURAL AMERICA – ENHANCING THE “CHAIN OF SURVIVAL” Applications of ITS have focused mostly on transportation needs in metropolitan areas; however, according to several reports by the US DOT Federal Highway Administration, rural areas account for 80 percent of the total US road mileage and 40 percent of the vehicle-miles driven. Often rural areas lack access to the appropriate care that may be available in the urban areas. Because of the typically long response times and limited resources available in remote/rural areas, the chain of survival is often compromised. For this reason ITS technology integrated into rural/remote America could greatly improve the chain of survival in such areas. In emergency medical care the chain of survival concept describes the sequence of events that must occur to ensure the best possible outcome for victims of trauma, cardiac arrest, and other life-threatening situations. The call for help is the first link in this critical chain which is heavily dependent upon an effective communication system. Emergency access via 911 involves over 30,000 calls daily in the United States for EMS, and over 5,000 of these are for motor vehicle crashes. Dispatch of the necessary medical resources (adequate number of EMS providers and ambulances at the needed level of care capability) and efficiently directing them to the scene of a medical emergency and on to the nearest appropriate hospital are of crucial importance. The value of level I trauma care has been highlighted in the report by McKenzie et al in which seriously injured trauma patients saw a 25% increase in mortality if they were not cared for in a level I trauma center.
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