The epidemiology of traffic injury

Effective vehicle crash protection depends upon understanding of the distribution, nature and mechanisms of traffic injury. In particular:

  • Better knowledge of the population differences in injury tolerance especially for the head, chest, and abdominal regions is required.
  • Analytical research is needed to optimise crashworthiness design across the ranges of crash types, crash severities and populations.
  • More realistic test requirements that reflect population variations in injury tolerance must be developed to recognise the tradeoffs between the strong and the vulnerable.
  • Better, quantitative assessment measures of the long-term consequences of traffic injury are needed.
  • The safety needs of elderly road users need to be evaluated more thoroughly to take account of changing demographics. Baseline information on the physiological changes of the elderly and the identification of injuries of special interest is required.Issues of optimisation will need to be addressed to ensure that protective systems optimised for a younger population are as effective with older groups.
  • The slight/serious/fatal categories currently used for injury severity scaling in large databases are inadequate.A simple injury scale is needed that is usable by police and first responders and that is compatible with the AIS currently used in in-depth and hospital-based studies.
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