Proceedings of the 24th World International Traffic Medicine Association Congress, Qatar 2015
  • EISSN: 2223-0440


To elucidate crash and injury patterns of vehicle occupants in fatal motor vehicle accidents (MVA). A retrospective study of fatal MVA victims based on data from post mortem examinations between 2000-2014 in South East Norway was conducted. Within the 15 year period, 561 vehicle occupants killed in traffic were identified, 373 were vehicle drivers and 158 passengers. Compared with data from official statistics, this represents an autopsy rate of 40%. In 30 of 561 cases (5,3 %) a natural cause of death was identified at autopsy, all of which were chauffeurs. Investigation of the autopsy and police reports revealed 531 deaths due to severe injuries or complications related to these injuries. The main causes of death were multiple injuries (41,4 %), isolated injuries to the head/neck (32,2 %), chest (15,6 %) or abdominal (1,7 %) organs. Blunt force trauma due to direct impact to the head or chest was the main fatal injury mechanism for both drivers and passengers. Furthermore, drowning was the cause of death in 4,9 % of the cases and burn injuries in 2,3 %. Most of the cases were found dead at the scene with non-survivable injuries. Collisions associated with driving off the road (203 MVA) and frontal collisions (244 MVA) were most commonly observed. The average victim age was 41 years, 73 % were men. Obesity, represented by Body Mass Index greater than 30, was observed in 123 (23 %) of the cases. Totally 76 (14 %) were known drug and alcohol abusers. Identifying mortality patterns in real-world traffic crashes may yield knowledge crucial for prevention of future MVA fatalities. The preliminary results indicate obesity may be a risk factor for fatal outcome in MVAs.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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