Cervical spinal injury often follows motor vehicle trauma (MVT). In fatal MVT, death usually results from head or chest injuries, and cervical spinal injury is rarely the primary cause. In a sample of 109 fatalities, traumatic lesions were found in 102 cervical spines; the injury severity ranged from minor tears to the disc, or bleeding into a facet joint, to fractures or dislocations with cord laceration. The recorded nature and position of injuries to other body parts suggested that: (1) in 54 cases, neck injury was secondary to head impact; (2) in 37 cases, neck injury was due to primary acceleration of the torso; and (3) in 11 cases, neck injury was secondary to a combination of head and torso injuries. 50 injuries were from impacts over 60kph, mostly due to MVT. Most of the low-velocity impact fatalities were in cyclists or pedestrians hit by motor vehicles, or were due to falls or blows to the head. The types of injuries analysed were upper cervical injuries, spinal cord and lower brain stem injuries, fractures, disc injuries, and facet injuries. MVT injuries in the 22 motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians were more extensive and severe than in the 46 motor vehicle occupants. Saggital serial section of the spine revealed many more traumatic lesions than could be seen by post-mortem radiology. For the covering abstract, see IRRD 878194.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 11-7

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00739460
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 1-85825-644-4
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 28 1997 12:00AM