Acute Care Surgery| Volume 285, P243-251, May 2023

Analysis of Biomechanics of Motor Vehicle Collisions for Passenger Cars: Implications for Passenger Vehicle Safety and Future Car Design Innovations

Published:September 30, 2022DOI:



      Investigating biomechanics of injury patterns from motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) informs improvements in vehicle safety. This study aims to investigate two-vehicle MVCs involving a passenger car and specific injury patterns associated with sources of injury, collision biomechanics, vehicle properties, and patient outcomes.


      Retrospective cohort study conducted to evaluate the biomechanics of specific injury patterns seen in MVCs involving passenger cars using the Crash Injury Research Engineering Network database between the years 2005 and 2015.


      A total of 631 MVC cases were included from 2005 to 2015. The majority of cases involved injuries to the head or neck, the thorax, and the abdomen (80.5%). Head/neck injuries from the steering wheel were associated with significantly higher injury severity score compared to those from seatbelts (26.11 versus 18.28, P < 0.001) and airbags (26.11 versus 20.10, P = 0.006), as well as a >6-fold higher fatality rate (P = 0.019). Thoracic injuries caused by the center console were twice as likely to be fatal than those caused by the seatbelt (P = 0.09).


      Occupants suffering injuries to the head/neck, the thorax, and the abdomen had higher injury severity score and fatality rates compared to other body regions, demonstrating that manufacturing and safety guidelines should focus on minimizing these injury patterns. Head/neck injuries caused by the steering wheel were associated with worse outcomes compared to those caused by seatbelts and airbags, further emphasizing the benefits of these critical safety features. Integration of innovative safety features like center-mounted airbags may improve occupant safety.

      Graphical abstract


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