Prevention of neck injury in frontal impacts
conference contributionposted on 2013-04-24, 09:20 authored by Andrew MorrisAndrew Morris, Jo BarnesJo Barnes, Niklas Truedsson, Ted Olsson, Brian Fildes, Anders Kullgren
'Whiplash' or Soft Tissue Neck Injwy (STNI) has traditionally been recognized as a car-to-car rear impact phenomenon; studies worldwide verify that the risk of sustaining neck injury in a car crash is approximately three-fold the risk of sustaining the same injury in other crash-types. In general, as such injuries are not characterized by a high risk of threat-to-life (as measured by internationally adopted injury severity scales such as the Abbreviated Injury Scale), prevention of them has perhaps not been seen as a high priority. However, in recent times, it has been recognized that such injury can be very debilitating to those afflicted and costs to sociery as a result of the injury can be correspondingly high. Techniques have therefore evolved over the past 5-l0 years that are aimed at the prevention of neck injury, mostly in rear impacts, and these are predominantly based on current understandings of the actual injurycoupled with the injury mechanism. Such studies usually indicate that the design of vehicle seat and head restraint is critical in the prevention of neck injury. However, neck injury does not only occur in rear-end crashes. Some studies have shown that the risk of sustaining neck injury in front and side impacts is between 15-20%. As these crash-types occur more frequently than rear impacts, the actual exposure to neck injury could be higher than in rear impacts. However, so far there have been no design techniques specifically aimed at neck injury prevention in such impacts. Recently, two studies of real-world crashes have examined the effects of arl-bags in frontal impacts. These are reported in this paper. Both studies have shown that the deploying air-bag in conjunction with a seat belt in a frontal crash can significantly reduce the incidence of neck injury in a frontal impact. The first is an on-going study of vehicle crash performance and occupant injury which is being conducted by Folksam Insurance in Sweden using data obtained from on-board crash recorders. The second study uses preliminary data from an on-going study of vehicle crash peiformance and occupant injury, which is being conducted by the Monash Universiy's Accident Research Centre.