Minor vehicle collisions can lead to serious spinal injuries: report

December 14, 2011

Solna, Sweden – A rear-end motor vehicle crash can cause symptoms of whiplash and other disabling neck and back injuries, even if the vehicle making the impact from behind is accelerating at a rate of only 6 mph, according to a study (.pdf file) conducted by Swedish traffic researchers.

Researchers analyzed crash data from 207 rear-end crashes in Sweden and found that, out of the 75 people who reported injuries, 51 recovered within a month, seven reported whiplash and other neck and back symptoms lasting between one and six months, and 17 reported having whiplash symptoms for more than six months. They also found that given the same crash severity, females had a higher risk of initial whiplash symptoms than males.

Researchers concluded that a correlation exists between the duration of symptoms and crash severity, which was measured by the change in velocity and mean acceleration.