The Risk of Injury and Vehicle Damage in Intersection Right-Angle Crashes 2005-01-0285
We compared 4032 ‘intersection, right-angle’ crashes (IRC), and a random sample of other two-vehicle crashes, selected after stratifying on driver age from all police-reported crashes in British Columbia, Canada in 2002. The proportion of injured occupants varied from 20.8% (control crashes, older drivers) to 27.8% (IRC, younger drivers). Whiplash was the most frequently reported injury (8–10% of all vehicle occupants) but was less common in IRC crashes than other two-vehicle crashes. Overall the odds of injury was 30% higher in IRC crashes than other crashes after controlling for environmental factors. Damage to the vehicles was also markedly higher for IRC crashes. When extent of damage was controlled the odds of injury to occupants was only 13% higher. For specific injuries, however, notably concussion (OR = 1.89) and fracture (OR = 1.54), a significant increase in risk remained. Whiplash, in contrast, was significantly less frequent (OR = 0.85). IRC crashes typically involve lateral damage to one or both vehicles; these crashes are associated not only with a higher risk of vehicle damage but also with a higher risk of many types of injury beyond what may be due to vehicle damage. In short, intersection crashes are bad news; they require more effective strategies, both for vehicle design and for traffic control to reduce crashes and protect people when these crashes occur.