The incidence of upper and lower extremity injuries from far side crashes

Hampton Clay Gabler, Brian Fildes, Michael Fitzharris, Kennerley Digges

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractOther


With recent successful improvements in frontal crash avoidance and crashworthiness, the Harm associated with side impact crashes has become of greater concern. In addition, while research attention has focussed on protecting the occupant on the struck or near-side of the car, less attention has been paid to
protecting occupants seated on the non-struck or far-side.
Methods: An analysis was undertaken of real world crash data to give direction
to improved priorities in far side protection, aimed at understanding far-side
injuries, injury mechanisms and solutions to address this emerging road safety
problem. Crash data available included the FARS file and NASS database from
the USA as well as fatal, non-fatal and in-depth data from Australia. Measures
included severe injury outcomes (AIS 2+) and the Harm associated with these
Results: The results show that far side occupants account for up to 48%
of injured people and 30% of Harm in side impact crashes. While head
injuries predominated in these crashes, thoracic injuries were the secondmost frequent source of injury in both USA and Australian far side crashes,
accounting for around 23% of Harm. Major sources of injury were the seat
belt and buckle, the adjacent seat and seat back and the adjacent side interior
of the vehicle. Injuries and mechanisms predominantly involved rib fracture
and hemothorax from chest loading. Solutions to reduce these life-threatening
injuries should focus on improved occupant restraint systems, aimed at better
coupling the occupant into the seat. It is estimated that these improvements
could save a significant proportion of far side impact Harm.
Limitations of Study: Availability and quality in the in-depth cases are the
major limitation with this study.
New Offerings: The focus on far side protection is a new major international
initiative. The findings from this study overall promises to provide better
protection to car occupants who experience a side impact crash. This analysis
delivers a deeper understanding of the injury problem (especially thoracic
injuries) and more meaningful and general findings of priorities in protecting
far-side occupants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S144-S145
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventWorld Congress of Biomechanics (WCB) 2006 - The Munich University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany
Duration: 29 Jul 20064 Aug 2006
Conference number: 5th

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