Head injury patterns in Australian rollover fatalities from the National Coronial Information System
Keywords: Crashes - Analysis
Submission Date: 2013
An analysis of the head injuries sustained by fatally injured occupants in rollover crashes was conducted using the available online data from the Australian National Coronial Information System. All available autopsy, police reports, and findings were reviewed. Cases were selected for inclusion in the study if they could be identified as properly restrained and contained occupants in single event passenger vehicle rollovers. All head injuries were coded using the Abbreviated Injury Scale, 1990 update. The required online data were available from New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria. Eighty-three cases were identified between 2000 and 2011 that met all inclusion criteria. The study was undertaken as part of a project with the aim of developing a dynamic test protocol to assess injury in the rollover crash mode, with specific interest in serious head injuries. The patterns and types of head injury were identified and cross referenced with known rollover conditions and occupant factors. The patterns of head injuries appear to differ based on many factors such as seat position and head contact location. Head injuries were the most frequently occurring serious injury among fatally injured occupants with a presence in 67 % of all cases. Of the cases that sustained a serious head injury 50 % had a serious thorax injury and 20 % had a serious spine injury. The findings help to identify which countermeasures may be effective in mitigating serious head injuries in rollover crashes as well as appropriate test methods that could assess the safety of a vehicle in the rollover crash mode.