The first study looks at the total count per year of spinal injuries in automobile crashes using data from 1994 to 2011. It looked at the rate of spinal cord injuries and fracture-dislocations of the vertebrae. Data from 1994-2011 was used to determine the rate of spine injuries for drivers and front seat passengers involved in a crash.
There were greater than 5,500 fracture dislocations and slightly more than 100 spinal cord injuries per year from automobile accidents. Most injuries occurred with collisions involving frontal impacts or vehicle rollovers; the least happened in rear accident. The overall rate in all accidents for spinal cord injury was at 0.054 percent and the greatestrate occurred in rollovers at 0.22 percent. For fracture dislocations of the spine, the greatest rate was 1.55 percent while the lowest rate was at 0.065 percent in rear impact accidents. Seat belt use gave an 81 percent effectiveness of reducing spinal cord injuries. The area where most injuries occurred was the C-spine (or cervical spine) which accounted for 66.3 percent of all injuries, while the thoracic spine accounted for 30.5 percent and the lumbar spine accounted for 3.2 percent. Serious head injuries happened 13.3 times more frequently than spinal cord injuries.
Motor vehicle rollover accidents are accidents in which the motor vehicle ends up on its side or on its back. In other words, there is no contact between the wheels of the vehicle and the ground. Unfortunately, 2.7 percent of occupants of a motor vehicle were killed in a rollover compared to 0.2 percent of occupants in non-rollover accidents. A total of 33 percent of all fatalities that are related to motor vehicle collisions occurred in rollover accidents as opposed to those accidents where the vehicle does not roll over.
Rollover rates seem to be higher in light trucks and SUVs. Rollovers are less common for the average passenger vehicle and/or minivan. More than any other demographic, male young drivers were the cause of the majority of these type of accidents. Vehicles that roll also tended to be older vehicles carrying multiple occupants. Sadly, many of the rollover accidents were noted to often contain unbelted passengers. Besides the age, sex and type of vehicle demographic, high speed rates at the time of the incident was another component contributing to these accidents.