Moose-Motor Vehicle Collision: A Continuing Hazard in Northern New England.

Document Type


Publication Date



Surgery; Trauma & Acute Care Surgery

Journal Title

Journal of the American College of Surgeons

MeSH Headings

Accidents, Traffic, Deer, New England, Motor Vehicles


BACKGROUND: Moose-motor vehicle collisions (MMVC) are especially dangerous to vehicle occupants because of the height and mass of the animal, which often collapses the roof and has a direct impact into the passenger compartment.

STUDY DESIGN: Public data on MMVC were obtained from the states of New England (NE), and trauma registry data from centers in NH and ME.

RESULTS: For all of NE, the annual incidence of reported MMVC has declined from a peak of >1,200 in 1998, but has still averaged >500 over the last 5 years, predominantly in ME, NH, and VT. Public education may have contributed to the decline, but the moose population has also apparently decreased due to environmental changes. In NE, MMVCs are most frequent in the summer months and evening hours. Maine data on crashes involving wild ungulates from 2003 to 2017 document 50,281 collisions with deer and 7,061 collisions with moose; 26 of the latter (0.37%) resulted in a human fatality. Logistic regression models demonstrate that vehicle occupant mortality, after controlling for multiple factors related to vehicle speed, is greatly increased when striking a moose rather than a deer (odds ratio [OR] 13.4, 95% CI 6.3, 28.7). In these data, there were no fatalities among occupants of Swedish cars, which are specifically engineered to tolerate MMVC. Three NH/ME trauma centers registered 124 cases of MMVC: median Injury Severity Score was 9; 5 patients died (4%); and 76 patients (61%) had injuries of the head, face, and/or cervical spine.

CONCLUSIONS: Moose-motor vehicle collisions remain a frequent and serious hazard to motor vehicle occupants in northern NE. Trauma services should recognize characteristic injury patterns. Continuing public education, cautious driving, and moose herd management are warranted.



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