Car-Surfing in Southwest Ohio: Incidence and Injuries

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A local increasing prevalence of injuries due to the unusual mechanism of "car-surfing," during which youths ride on the hood or roof of a vehicle, led us to review our experience with these injuries with the goal of designing an effective prevention program.


Patient information from the trauma registry at our Level I trauma center was abstracted and analyzed to determine the characteristics of injuries due to this unusual mechanism.


Thirty-five patients were identified over a 15-year period. The average age was 19.5 +/- 5.2 years (mean +/- S.D.); 69% were young men. The number of injuries is increasing, with nine injuries identified during the first 5 years, 10 during the next 5 years, and 16 patients during the most recent 5-year period. Fifty-seven percent of the injuries occurred in a rural area and 43% in an urban area. Blood alcohol levels were tested in 29 patients--18 were negative and 11 were positive. Alcohol was more likely to be a factor in older patients with 77.8% (7/9) of those > or = 21 years old having a positive blood alcohol but only 20% (4/20) < or = 20 years old. The most severe injuries were due to head trauma (82.9%), and five patients died.


This high risk behavior is becoming more prevalent in our region. The information gained from this study will be valuable to our Injury Prevention Center in designing an effective program to reduce such injuries.

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