Statistical adjustment for misclassification of seat belt and alcohol use in the analysis of motor vehicle accident data

Haifeng Guo, Kent M. Eskridge, Daniel Christensen, Ming Qu, Thomas Safranek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of seat belts and alcohol is often misreported in police motor vehicle accident reports for a number of reasons. To avoid penalties, occupants often over report seat belt use and under report alcohol use. Police officers sometimes fail to account for evidence such as presence of belt burn, condition of belts, odor of alcohol, crash patterns, etc. Biased conclusions result when using misclassified accident data to estimate the effectiveness of seat belts in preventing injuries and reducing medical costs. We investigated the effects of misclassification of seat belt and alcohol use on the odds ratio of injury as well as medical costs. A statistical method and a SAS program were developed to adjust odds ratios of injury and medical cost estimates to account for misclassification of seat belts and alcohol use. The method allowed for incorporation of variables that could affect misclassification of seat belt and alcohol use. We conducted a Monte Carlo simulation and found that when there were large differences between the misclassification rates for major and minor injury, the unadjusted odds ratio could have up to a 90% bias while our adjusted odds ratio was effectively unbiased. To illustrate the method, we estimated the misclassification rates of seat belt and alcohol use by comparing merged police and hospital reports from Nebraska motor vehicle accident data sets (1996-1997) and then evaluated the bias of the odds ratio of injury and medical costs estimates due to misclassification. Our results showed that the bias of the odds ratio of injury and medical costs due to misclassification of seat belts and alcohol use depended both on the amount of misclassification and the reported frequencies. Misclassification about seat belt and alcohol use only slightly biased the unadjusted odds ratio estimates and mean hospital charge, while misclassification resulted in approximately a 69% underestimate of the total medical costs savings due to seatbelts. However, due to the small size of the merged Nebraska police and hospital data set used to estimate misclassification rates, these results are likely somewhat imprecise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Keywords

  • Medical costs
  • Misclassified binary variables
  • Odds ratio
  • Seat belt usage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical adjustment for misclassification of seat belt and alcohol use in the analysis of motor vehicle accident data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this