U-M Injury Center

U-M Injury Center

Injury is the leading cause of death for people ages one to 44 in the U.S. Recognizing the importance of this critical public health issue, SPH now offers a Certificate in Injury Science through the U-M Injury Center. Open to all SPH students, the new certificate program incorporates courses in epidemiology, health behavior and health education, health management and policy, biostatistics, and psychology, and includes a practicum component.

The Public Health Impact of Michigan's Helmet-Repeal Law

The Michigan state legislature repealed the state's universal helmet law for motorcycle riders in the spring of 2012. In an effort to assess the public health implications of this policy change, researchers with the U-M Transportation Research Institute and U-M Injury Center conducted a study of motorcycle accidents in 2012. Their findings may make drivers think twice about leaving home without a helmet:

  • 26: Additional deaths attributed to helmet non-use after the repeal
  • 36: Percentage decrease in helmet use among drunk riders who crashed
  • 49: Serious injuries that could have been avoided by helmet use
  • 60: Percentage increase in risk of injury caused by not wearing a helmet

The Teenage Brain on Wheels: Things Every Parent Should Know

Think you know all there is to know about teen driving? Think again. SPH Research Professor (and U-M Injury Center researcher) Ray Bingham uses fMRI imaging to study the teenage brain and its influence on driving. His findings may surprise you:

  1. Male teens have a much higher crash risk than females.
  2. Having a peer passenger causes more fatal accidents for teens—period.
  3. Peer passengers can up the odds of accidents not only through direct interference (distraction), but through more subtle cues as well, meaning that even when they're not talking or gesturing, risky driving behaviors may increase from the mere presence of fellow teens.
  4. Teens who are more likely to feel socially excluded are more strongly influenced by a risk-seeking peer passenger.
  5. Teens with greater cognitive control (higher executive functioning) are not influenced by high-risk passengers, and when accompanied by low-risk passengers actually drive more safely than they would without low-risk passengers.

—Rachel Ruderman