Severity Impacts Soft Tissue Injury Risks
What Factors Affect the Risk of Soft-Tissue Damage?
Many different factors can affect likelihood that a person involved in a rear-end collision will sustain damage to soft tissue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a study that assessed how different factors could impact the chances of a person suffering short-term and long-term symptoms of whiplash associated disorders (WADs).
Researchers reviewed data from crash pulse recorders. Around 60,000 crash pulse recorders were put into Swedish vehicles after 1995. The recorders tested acceleration time history in rear-impact collisions. Researchers chose accidents to study. There were 150 different rear-end collisions included in the study. In total, 207 people were in the front seats of the vehicles involved in rear-end crashes. None of the people in the study had previously sustained or suffered any neck injuries.
Research revealed that when there was a change in velocity of 8 km/hr and there was a mean acceleration of around 5 g, there was a 20 percent chance occupants of front seats would experience ongoing WAD symptoms a month or longer after the rear-end accidents happened. When mean acceleration in the rear-end accident was only 3 g, only one out of the 207 people who were included in the study had whiplash symptoms that lasted for a month or more.
Researchers compared their results to past data. One prior study had showed that when there was a velocity change of 10.9 g or less, no volunteers reporting whiplash symptoms after a few days. However, when there was a change in velocity of 10 to 15 km per hour, the majority of vehicle occupants involved in rear-end crashes reported whiplash symptoms several days post-collision.
Another prior study looked at long-term symptoms. Around 21 percent of people in that study had reported that they had lingering consequences of soft tissue injury after moderate rear-end crashes in Volvo vehicles.
Women had a greater likelihood than men of having immediate whiplash symptoms. When the striking car’s engine was longitudinally mounted, as opposed to a transversal engine, there was also a higher chance of ongoing long-term consequences for people in the vehicle that was hit.
The research shows velocity and acceleration make a big impact on chances of lingering problems due to soft tissue damage. Motorists must be aware of the risks and take steps to try to reduce the chances of causing a rear-end crash.
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