Injury Scaling as a means for classifying the extent of trauma has a long histroy. This paper describes the origin, development and usage of the Abbreviated Injury Scale. Major revisions to AIS-80 are discussed in detail. Both the value of the AIS as a research tool and its limitations are presented. The critical need for training AIS users in proper application is addressed. The future role of the Committee on Injury Scaling is explained, and three potential uses of the AIS are suggested as priority items. The paper, accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography, serves as a basic state of the art reference for physicians and others researchers in the traffic medicine and highway safety field.