Published on February 03, 2012

Genesis Admitting Fewer Patients Injured In Davenport Crashes

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport is admitting fewer patients who have sustained trauma injuries in Davenport vehicle crashes.

In the past four years, Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has admitted to the hospital an average of 10.41 patients per month for treatment of trauma injuries sustained in Davenport vehicle crashes. From 2002-2007, the average was 15.7 patients admitted per month, or 34 percent higher. \

The decrease in hospital admissions at Genesis from vehicles crashes has matched the use of Automated Traffic Enforcement cameras in Davenport.

“We can’t cite Automated Traffic Enforcement as the only reason for the decline or even the most significant factor. However, we certainly believe the devices are an important factor,’’ said Joe Lohmuller, M.D., general surgeon and medical director of Genesis Trauma Services.

“We are not making a political case, only a case for prevention of serious injuries. The trend we are seeing likely represents saved lives, fewer life-altering injuries and a reduction in the personal and financial costs of vehicle accidents.

“It is interesting that prior to the installation of these devices in Davenport, the number of patients we were admitting to the hospital each month from vehicle crashes in Davenport was steady at 15 to 17. Now, we are admitting an average of about 10 each month.”

Last year, 120 patients were admitted to Genesis Medical Center, Davenport for treatment of injuries sustained in Davenport vehicle crashes. In 2005, the year before speed enforcement cameras were installed, 199 patients were admitted.

Red light cameras were first installed in Davenport in August, 2004. Speed enforcement cameras were added in what were determined to be high-risk areas in January, 2006. The cameras were the subject of litigation and were not in operation from Jan. 7, 2007 through Jan. 15, 2009.

“We were already seeing some change by 2007 when the cameras were turned off,’’ Dr. Lohmuller said. “Now, we’re seeing consistent numbers that are significantly lower than those from 2002-2007.

"We would like to see this trend continue and are hopeful the Iowa General Assembly will not pass a ban of traffic enforcement cameras.”

The decrease in vehicle crashes resulting in traumatic injury in Davenport is reflective of a national trend of safer driving. Traffic deaths in the U.S. fell to their lowest level in 60 years in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 359 traffic deaths in Iowa in 2011 was the state’s lowest total since 1944. Illinois was below 1,000 traffic deaths (906) for the second straight year. That had not happened in 89 years in Illinois.

Experts cite seat belt usage; improved road design; vehicle safety features; increased enforcement; and, tougher laws regulating driving under the influence and driving while distracted as factors in declining traffic fatalities.

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