A detailed analysis of rear impacts was carried out using data from the German In-Depth Accident Study ("GIDAS") including accidents from 1996 to 2004. The frequency of rear impacts compared to other modes was investigated, followed by an indepth review of single rear impacts and rear impacts in multiple impact crash sequences. Crash characteristics such as the distributions of crash severity, overlap and masses of striking and struck cars were examined. The effect of crash severity on injury severity was investigated for cases including soft tissue neck injuries and / or other injuries. The types of injuries sustained and the effects of occupant gender, age and height, seating position and restraint use were analysed.
This analysis has provided a valuable summary of the characteristics of rear impacts in Europe. In general, it was found that rear impacts did not result in high levels of severe (AIS3+) injuries but many occupants were reported as suffering AIS1 level soft tissue neck injuries, often in the absence of other injuries. Many of these injuries occurred at low crash severities and with high levels of overlap. Where they did occur, most of the more severe (AIS3+) injuries were to the head and thorax and included concussion and rib cage fractures. Moderately severe injuries to the upper and lower extremities also occurred, albeit with low frequency. This analysis has provided a useful new perspective on rear impacts and a better understanding of their characteristics.
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