Risk of Concussion in Low- to Moderate-Speed Frontal and Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collisions
To be published on April 2, 2019 by SAE International in United States
There were approximately 2.5 million traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related emergency department (ED) visits in the United States in 2013, an increase of more than 50% since 2007. In particular, TBI-related ED visits associated with motor vehicle crashes increased by 19% over that period. This estimate includes patients with a diagnosis of concussion or mild TBI (mTBI). Therefore, a better understanding of the risk of concussion associated with motor vehicle crashes is needed. A scientific evaluation of concussion risk is strengthened by objective, quantitative data. However, the diagnostic criteria have broadened; for example, a diagnosis of concussion no longer requires loss of consciousness, and an affected individual may not have a reduced Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. Moreover, there are often no objective findings based on current diagnostic imaging techniques. As a result, clinical assessment of mTBI may be based only on self-reported symptoms and history. Peer-reviewed research conducted using field accident data, human surrogates, and biomechanical models have resulted in the development of correlations between head accelerations and the risk of brain injury, which can be applied in the context of motor vehicle crashes. This study reports data from full-scale frontal and rear-end passenger vehicle crash tests with delta-Vs ranging from 6.0 to 19.0 kph (3.7 to 11.8 mph) and 5.3 to 19.5 kph (3.3 to 12.1 mph), respectively. Head linear and rotational kinematic data were recorded using 50th percentile male Hybrid-III anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) restrained in the driver’s seat. Overall, the magnitudes of acceleration were low and the injury metrics corresponded to a minimal risk of concussion in these low- to moderate-speed collisions.