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Difference in injury pattern between drivers and front seat passengers involved in road traffic accidents in Scotland
  1. D K Pedley,
  2. S Thakore
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D Pedley
 Accident and Emergency Department, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK;


Objectives: To investigate the frequency and pattern of injury in front seat passengers as compared with drivers, in Scotland.

Methods: Using the Scottish Trauma Audit Group (STAG) database from 1994 to 2000, a search for injuries to eight anatomical body regions was performed. Injuries were identified and selected by their abbreviated injury score code. A comparison of injury frequency between drivers and front seat passengers was then made.

Results: There were 4189 drivers and 954 front seat passengers included in the study. Mortality was higher in the “front seat passengers” group (6.6% compared with 5.3% p = 0.13). Seven of the eight body regions selected showed higher rates of injury in front seat passengers. There were significantly more injuries to cervical spine (6.0% compared with 3.3% p⩽0.001), chest (41.4% compared with 29.0% p⩽0.001), and lumber spine (7.4% compared with 5.2% p⩽0.001) in front seat passengers.

Conclusions: Front seat passengers are at increased risk of injury relative to drivers in actual road traffic accidents as recorded in the STAG database. This contradicts crash test data, which suggest drivers are less well protected than front seat passengers in laboratory conditions.

  • road traffic accidents
  • seat belts
  • injury pattern
  • STAG, Scottish Trauma Audit Group
  • AIS, abbreviated injury score
  • FSP, front seat passenger

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