A marked discrepancy exists in the reported mortality rates in patients with open pelvic fractures, ranging from 4.8% to 50%. A retrospective review of patients with open pelvic fractures was performed at three centers. Thirty-nine patients with open pelvic fractures were identified; the average age was 32. The average injury-severity score was 29 (13-75). There were 10 (26%) deaths. Factors that correlated with mortality and morbidity were instability of the pelvic fracture and the presence of a rectal injury. Delay in performing diverting colostomy correlated with a poor outcome. Previously described methods of treatment are still valid; however, there is a need for re-emphasis of early diverting colostomy in the patient with a rectal or perineal injury. A classification system for open pelvic fractures is proposed in this article.