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The risk of whiplash-induced medical impairment in rear-end impacts for males and females in driver seat compared to front passenger seat
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Surgery.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Surgery.
2013 (English)In: IATSS Research, ISSN 0386-1112, Vol. 37, no 1, 8-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective of this study was to study whiplash injury outcome in front-seat occupants in rear-end impacts using double paired comparison technique. The combination of gender, seated position, and outcome was analyzed. Folksam, a Swedish insurance company, has a database of whiplash injuries. A questionnaire was used to collect study data. The response rate was 81%. The inclusion criteria included medical impairment one year after the impact, as judged by medical specialists. The study included rear-end impacts between 1990 and 1999 that resulted in at least one permanent neck injury impairment; in total, 430 impacts with 860 occupants and 444 impairments. Of those suffering impairment, 302 were female and 142 male; 235 were seated in the driver's seat and 209 in the front passenger seat. Relative risk estimates for impairing whiplash injury, by gender and seated position:

1.Driver male (DM)/passenger female (PF) relative risk = 0.5 n = 218

2.Driver male (DM)/passenger male (PM) relative risk = 1.4 n = 57

3.Driver female (DF)/passenger female (PF) relative risk = 2.5 n = 102

4.Driver female (DF)/passenger male (PM) relative risk = 4.6 n = 67.

Females had a relative risk of medical impairment of 3.1 compared to men after adjustment for the average increased risk in the driver position. The driver position had a doubled relative risk compared to the front passenger position. As a conclusion it may be of value to take risk differences between male and female occupants and between driver and front passenger positions into account in future automotive car and seat construction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 37, no 1, 8-11 p.
Keyword [en]
Rear-end impact, Whiplash, Gender, Driver seat, Front passenger seat
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3146DOI: 10.1016/j.iatssr.2013.04.001OAI: diva2:141630

Originally mentioned in thesis as submitted to journal: Traffic injury prevention, ISSN 1538-9588.

Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Interaction between humans and car seats: studies of occupant seat adjustment, posture, position, and real world neck injuries in rear-end impacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interaction between humans and car seats: studies of occupant seat adjustment, posture, position, and real world neck injuries in rear-end impacts
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: The latest generation of rear-end whiplash protection systems, as found in the WHIPS Volvo and SAHR Saab, have reduced injury rates by almost 50% in comparison with the previous generation of seat/head restraint systems. Occupant behaviour, such as seated posture and seat adjustment settings, may affect the injury risk. Method: Five studies were conducted. Studie I was an injury outcome study based on insurance data. Studies II-IV investigated seat adjustment, occupant backset, and cervical retraction for drivers and occupants in different postures and positions in the car, during stationary and driving conditions. Study V compared the occupant data from studies II and III with a vehicle testing tool, the BioRID dummy, using the protocols of the ISO, RCAR, and the RCAR-IIWPG.

Results: Female drivers and passengers had a threefold increased risk for medically-impairing neck injury in rear-end impacts, compared to males. Driver position had a double risk compared with front passenger seat position. Female drivers adjusted the driver seat differently to male drivers; they sat higher and closer to the steering wheel and with more upright back support. The volunteers also adjusted their seat differently to the ISO, RCAR, and RCAR-IIWPG protocol settings; both sexes sat further away from the steering wheel, and seat back angle was more upright then in the protocols. In stationary cars, backset was highest in the rear seat position and lowest in the front passenger seat position. Males had a larger backset than females. Cervical retraction decreased and backset increased for both sexes when posture changed from self-selected posture to a slouched posture. The BioRID II dummy was found to represent 96th percentile female in stature, and a 69th percentile female in weight in the volunteer group.

Conclusions: Risks in car rear-end impacts differ by sex and seated position. This thesis indicates the need for a 50th percentile female BioRID dummy and re-evaluation of the ISO, RCAR, and RCAR-IIWPG protocols, and further development of new safety systems to protect occupants in rear-end impacts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kirurgisk och perioperativ vetenskap, 2008. 39 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; ISSN 0346-6612-1163
Surgery, backset, Whiplash, rear-end impact, seated posture, seated position, bioRID, Kirurgi
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1636 (URN)978-91-7264-525-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, Sal D, Tandläkarhögskolan 9tr, Umeå Universitet, 901 85 Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2009-05-04Bibliographically approved

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