Researchers in Japan have found that senior drivers are involved in a higher number of traffic crashes and, in those events, experience a higher rate of abdominal injuries.
While the same trend has not been identified in the United States previously, the difference may stem from national demographic trends. Currently, twenty-three percent of the Japanese population is age 65 or older. In the U.S., the same age group accounts for just thirteen percent of the population; however, this demographic is expected to grow to twenty-one percent of the U.S. population by 2040.
Understanding the root causes behind abdominal injuries could lead to improved safety restraints that might help to mitigate these injuries.
Toyota and Virginia Tech are working together to study the relationship between age and abdominal injuries caused by automobile crashes in the United States, seeking to determine if a specific population, such as senior drivers, are more vulnerable to abdominal injuries during these events.
The CSRC and Virginia Tech will attempt to pinpoint scenarios where drivers are at an increased risk for abdominal injuries during collisions, performing root cause analyses on these cases to develop and test potential injury hypotheses.
To do this, the project will include a review of NHTSA’s National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) to identify if a similar trend exists for a specific population of drivers in the U.S.
Research will also include detailed case studies on data from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) that will look for specific types of injuries experienced during crash events and identify potential root causes.
Based on trends found from this research, injury mechanism hypotheses will be created, and port-mortem human subject tests will be used to validate these hypotheses.
Recommendations will also be given on how to measure and assess abdominal injury probability in crash test dummies and/or FE models.
This three-year project begins with analysis of crash data databases. Results from this research will be joined to form injury hypotheses. Validation of these hypotheses will be performed for the remainder of the project timeline, utilizing post-mortem human subjects.