How Do They Die? Medical-Engineering Data From On-Scene Investigations of Fatal Automobile Accidents 650039
On-scene investigations of 104 fatal accidents involving 136 fatalities have shown that ejection from the vehicle was the leading cause of the fatalities. The data indicate that the majority of these victims could have survived by the use of the simple lap seat belt. The steering assembly -- the end of the steering column or steering wheel proper -- was the leading cause of the fatalities among drivers. The majority of these driver fatalities could not have been saved even with the seat belt-shoulder harness restraint. Other than death by ejection, the instrument panel was the leading cause of death of the front seat passengers, most of whom could have survived by using seat belts. Impacts to the door caused invasion of the passenger compartment, and most occupants would have died even if restraints had been used. To decrease the number of fatal injuries from automobile accidents, future designs of automobile interiors must include adequate crash attenuation features.