The tolerance of the human body to automobile collision impact - A systematic review of injury biomechanics research, 1990-2009

Jason L. Forman, Francisco J. Lopez-Valdes, Sonia Duprey, Dipan Bose, Eduardo Del Pozo De Dios, Damien Subit, Tim Gillispie, Jeff R. Crandall, Maria Segui-Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Road traffic injuries account for 1.3 million deaths per year world-wide. Mitigating both fatalities and injuries requires a detailed understanding of the tolerance of the human body to external load. To identify research priorities, it is necessary to periodically compare trends in injury tolerance research to the characteristics of injuries occurring in the field. This study sought to perform a systematic review on the last twenty years of experimental injury tolerance research, and to evaluate those results relative to available epidemiologic data. Four hundred and eight experimental injury tolerance studies from 1990-2009 were identified from a reference index of over 68,000 papers. Examined variables included the body regions, ages, and genders studied; and the experimental models used. Most (20%) of the publications studied injury to the spine. There has also been a substantial volume of biomechanical research focused on upper and lower extremity injury, thoracic injury, and injury to the elderly - although these injury types still occur with regularity in the field. In contrast, information on pediatric injury and physiological injury (especially in the central nervous system) remains lacking. Given their frequency of injury in the field, future efforts should also include improving our understanding of tolerances and protection of vulnerable road users (e.g., motorcyclists, pedestrians).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Automobiles
  • Biomechanics
  • Injuries
  • Prevention
  • Surveillance
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Law
  • Medicine(all)


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