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Injuries of moderate severity to restrained drivers in frontal crashes
Published June 07, 2000 by Institution of Mechanical Engineers in United Kingdom
Protection of passenger car occupants during a crash has demonstrably improved over the last 20 years. The introduction and improvement of passive and active safety systems within vehicles have contributed in offering better protection to car occupants. National traffic accident statistics indicate a decrease in the rate of killed and seriously injured casualties and an increase in slightly injured casualties over the last ten-year period. This suggests that there may well be a transfer from serious to slight injury category. Serious injuries are roughly equivalent to AIS ≥ 3 and slight injuries roughly equivalent to AIS 1 and 2 severity of injuries. The shift from the more serious categories indicates an increasing need to examine the moderate injury category of AIS 2; many of these injuries being of high cost in terms of disabilities and economic loss even though they are not so life threatening.
A sample of real world data for restrained drivers involved in frontal impacts was analyzed. The head/face (38%), thorax (42%) and lower extremity (40%) were the most frequently injured body regions. Contact with the steering wheel was the most common source of MAIS 2 (67%) and MAIS ≥ 3 (44%) severity of injuries to the head/face region. Seat belt loading (77%) was the most common source of MAIS 2 injury and contact with the steering wheel (72%) was the most frequent source of MAIS ≥ 3 injury to the thorax. Injuries of MAIS 2 (54%) and MAIS ≥ 3 (52%) severity to the pelvis were as a result of knee impacts. Knee impacts were also responsible for some 44% of MAIS ≥ 3 injuries to the thighs. Injuries to the knees were mainly as a result of contact with the steering column and the facia. Footwell and pedal contact resulted in injuries to the lower legs and ankle/foot area. MAIS ≥ 3 injuries to head/face, thorax and lower extremity regions were found to occur at significantly higher crash speeds compared to MAIS 2 injuries. Occupant characteristics of age and gender were also found to have an influence on injury outcome.