Intrusions significantly increase leg injuries in car crashes: report

April 11, 2012

Washington – Frontal crashes that result in intrusions – when an object or other vehicle penetrates the crashing vehicle – are significantly more likely to cause moderate or severe leg injuries among passenger vehicle drivers, according to a report (.pdf file) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Researchers checked for leg injuries in a sample of National Automotive Sampling System data between 1997 and 2009 where significant frontal damage occurred to the vehicle. They found that upper-leg injuries increased by 8 times when there was an intrusion, with the rate increasing by 4 times when the driver’s legs struck the car’s dashboard or an instrument panel during an intrusion crash.

Researchers recommended further research on the effects of intrusions on driver injuries, including how the presence and characteristics of dashboards and instrument panels affect this type of injury.