In Finland the Boards of Accident Investigation of Insurance Companies investigated in detail almost all severe traffic accidents involving one or more victims dying within 30 days of the accident. The basic materials used in the present studies consisted of 3564 fatalities between 1972 and 1983 and 4169 fatalities between 1972 and 1985 investigated by the boards. Maxillofacial injury was the most important cause of death in 20 cases between 1972 and 1983, and in 84 cases maxillofacial injury was one of the three most important causes of death. Thirteen of those 84 victims had reached the hospital and had then died within 30 hours. Case records of these 13 victims were analysed, focusing especially on the mechanism leading to the fatal outcome. The immediate cause of death in victims who died of maxillofacial injury was aspiration of blood. There was no evidence of obstruction of the upper airways by either a crushed maxilla or a retropositioned tongue in any of the cases. The combined effect of brain concussion or contusion with bleeding facial injury may lead to asphyxia and can be fatal even after reaching the hospital. Chest injuries were the second-most-important cause of death in motor traffic accidents and led to death in 207 seatbelt wearers between 1972 and 1985. Autopsy and hospital case records were manually analysed. Aortic ruptures (37.1%), heart ruptures (28.4%), bilateral lung contusions (31.3%) and lacerations (15.5%) were the four most common chest injuries leading to the fatal outcome. The most important chest injury leading to the fatal outcome was rupture of the aorta, representing 98 cases. Exact information as to rupture localization and size was available in 68 cases. A comparison with 72 randomly chosen unbelted victims who died in comparable accidents indicated that unbelted victims were more apt to sustain aortic ruptures in the ascending part of the aorta (often caused by the steering wheel), while seatbelt wearers more often suffered ruptures of the distal descending aorta associated with thoracic vertebral fractures. During the period 1972-1983, 30 seatbelt wearers died, abdominal injury being the leading cause of fatal outcome. Liver injuries were the major abdominal cause of fatality.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Central Organization for Traffic Safety, Finland

    Sitratie 7
    FIN-00420 Helsinki,   Finland 
  • Authors:
    • Arajarvi, E
  • Publication Date: 1989

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Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00610221
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • ISBN: 951-9151-76-1
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Report 35/1989, HS-040 921
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jun 30 1991 12:00AM