Injuries and Deaths from Windshield and Instrument Panel Impacts
From an analysis of over 100 fatal automobile accidents and approximately 40 non-fatal (facial injury) accidents, data have been collected on injuries sustained from windshield and instrument panel impacts of guest passengers. Detailed study of the vehicle and of the injury patterns to the occupants indicates that facial lacerations are produced from windshield impacts due to the downward movement of the head after initial contact with the windshield. The lacerations are produced on the glass some 3 to 8 inches beneath the original point of impact to the windshield. Fractures of the knee area or of the femur are seen less often than the more common fractures of the distal leg and/or ankle area. The latter are produced by impact on the under surface of the instrument panel and by buckling of the floor pan combined with the forward motions of the occupant.