1.5. Frequent Chest Injury Among Older Drivers

  Regarding the injury receiving body parts of older drivers wearing a seat belt, Figures 7(1) through 7(4) shows the percentage of injured body parts according to the level of vehicle damage and the age of fatally and seriously injured drivers.

  Figure 7(1) reports the injured body parts of the drivers killed in accidents of major vehicle damage. Head injury is most frequent among drivers aged between 20 and 59 with the contribution ranging from about 45% to 55%. Among drivers aged 60 to 74, however, both chest injury and head injury are the most frequent at a contribution of about 30% each. From age 75 and above, chest injury exceeds head injury. For fatalities in medium-damage accidents as shown in Figure 7(2), chest injuries outnumber head injuries from age 65 and above.

  In the case of drivers seriously injured in major-damage accidents, Figure 7(3) indicates that head injury is the most frequent up to age 49, but chest injury clearly takes over from age 55. Also, in the case of serious injuries in accidents of medium vehicle damage, chest injury is notably high from age 55 and becomes the most frequent with its contribution nearing 40% among drivers aged 70 and over.

  Thus, whether fatal or serious injury, the typical injury pattern of older drivers differs from the injury pattern of the others in that the contribution of chest injury is markedly high among older drivers.

(1) Major damage, Fatality

(2) Medium damage, Fatality

(3) Major damage, Serious injury

(4) Medium damage, Serious injury


1.6. Many Chest Injuries Caused by the Steering Wheel

  The interior components that have inflicted chest injuries are shown in Figure 8, between drivers wearing and not wearing a seat belt. When the seat belt is not worn, impact with the steering wheel accounts for 70-75% of the total number of injuries in both older drivers and the others.

  Even when the seat belt is worn, about 45% of the chest injuries inflicted to older drivers and around 40% of those to the others are due to impact with the steering wheel. Fig. 8 shows the similar component ratio between older drivers and the others. Therefore, it is important to prevent the chest from hitting the steering wheel for both age groups.

  Fig. 8  Injury inflicting objects according to driver age and seat belt wearing


Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)