An in-depth study of abdominal injuries sustained by car occupants in frontal crashes
conference contributionposted on 24.07.2013, 14:19 by Richard Frampton, James Lenard, Sabine Compigne
Currently, neither abdominal injury risk nor rear seat passenger safety is assessed in European frontal crash testing. The objective of this study was to provide real world in-depth analysis of the factors related to abdominal injury for belted front and rear seat occupants in frontal crashes. Rear occupants were significantly more at risk of AIS 2+ and 3+ abdominal injury, followed by front seat passengers and then drivers. This was still the case even after controlling for occupant age. Increasing age was separately identified as a factor related to increased abdominal injury risk in all seating positions.One exception to this trend concerned rear seated 15 to 19 year olds who sustained moderate to serious abdominal injury at almost the same rate as rear occupants aged 65+.No strong associationwas seenbetween AIS 2+ abdominal injury rates andgender. The majority of occupant body mass indices ranged from underweight to obese. Across that range, the AIS 2+ abdominal injury rates were very similar but a small number of very obese and extremely obese occupants outside of the range did exhibit noticeably higher rates.An analysis of variance in the rate of AIS 2+ abdominal injury with different restraint systems showed that simple belt systems,as used by most rear seat passengers, were the least protective. Increasing sophistication of the restraint system was related to lower rates of injury. The ANOVA also confirmed occupant age and crashseverity as highly associated with abdominal injury risk. The most frequently injured abdominal organs for front seat occupants were the liver and spleen. Abdominal injury patterns for rear seat passengers were very different. While they also sustained significant injuries to solid organs, their rates of injury to the hollow organs (jejunum-ileum, mesentary, colon) were far higher even though the rate of fracture of two or more ribs did not differ significantly between seat positions. These results have implications for the design of restraint systems, particularly in relation to the occurrence of abdominal injury. They also raise issues of crash protection for older occupants as well as the protection afforded in different seating positions. ©Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine.