This paper describes an analysis of a sample of over 300 fatally injured occupants of cars involved in accidents mainly between 1969 and 1976 in urban, rural and motorway environments of the United Kingdom. The sample is drawn from a retrospective field study of collisions conducted by examining cars at garages, and correlating that information with medical and road user data obtained from hospitals and by questionnaires. The sample is thought to be broadly representative of the U.K. occupant fatality situation.The injuries to all the fatally injured occupants are described in detail using the A.I.S. and the I.S.S. procedures. These injuries are then related to their most common sources, for specific crash configurations. The vehicle deformation is described in terms of the frequency and severity of various collision types, and then both injuries and deformation are reviewed in the light of existing and proposed safety legislation in Europe.The effect of compulsory seat belt use on this sample is estimated, and the consequences for other safety standards and their relative priorities are discussed. In particular the increased relative importance of side impact protection is noted. Other conclusions drawn are the need for improved passenger compartment integrity, and better compatability between trucks and small cars.