How Crash Severity in Rear Impacts
Influences Short- and Long-term
Consequences to the Neck

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   Accid Anal Prev 2000 (Mar);   32 (2):   187195

Krafft M, Kullgren A, Tingvall C, Bostrom O, Fredriksson R

Folksam Research,
Stockholm, Sweden.

The main public-health problem concerning WAD are injuries leading to long-term consequences. Yet epidemiological studies mostly concentrate on data based on the injury outcome occurring shortly after the crash. The purpose of this article is to study the influence of crash severity in rear impacts leading to short and long-term consequences to the neck (WAD 1-3), lasting less than or more than 1 year.

The influence of change of velocity as well as the car acceleration were investigated by using data from crash pulse recorders (CPR) installed in vehicles, involved in rear impacts. The influence of the car acceleration were also investigated by studying the frequency of occurrence of a tow-bar (hinge) on the struck car. Apart from real-life data, full-scale car-to-car crashes were performed to evaluate the influence of a tow-bar on the struck car.

The crash tests showed that a tow-bar may significantly affect the acceleration of the car as well as that of the occupant. According to real-life crashes, a tow-bar on the struck car increased the risk of long-term consequences by 22% but did not affect the risk of short-term consequences. Out of the 28 crash recorder-equipped struck cars involving 38 occupants, 15 sustained no injury where the peak acceleration was 6g or less, 20 sustained short-term consequences where the peak acceleration was 10g or less. Three occupants from two different crashes sustained long-term consequences. The two crashes which resulted in long-term disabling neck injuries had the highest peak acceleration (15 and 13 x g), but not the highest change of velocity.

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