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Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network (CIREN)

Injuries received as the result of motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death and disability in this country and the world. While only 22% of persons involved in a motor vehicle crash sustain a serious injury, those injuries constitute 77% of the total cost. While improvements in engineering and vehicle design have helped to mitigate the risk of injury as the result of a motor vehicle crash, further advances in highway safety can be made through the analysis of injuries and their causes, especially among those who were properly restrained at the time of the crash and whose vehicle was equipped with many of the latest safety designs.

As one of six CIREN Centers nationwide, the National Study Center is participating in a multi-center study of injuries sustained in vehicular crashes. The study, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is confined to late-model passenger vehicles, so that recent safety innovations are present. Through this study, detailed information is collected on 'real crashes' and the 'real injuries' sustained by the vehicle's occupants.

Recent literature has outlined the changing types of injury patterns that are being observed among drivers and passengers involved in crashes where the vehicle is equipped with modern restraint devices (seatbelts, front and side airbags, rollover curtains, etc). Recent submissions by the Maryland CIREN team include papers assessing the crash causation among persons who had a pre-existing medical condition (i.e. diabetes or a seizure disorder), the risk of femoral and tibia fractures in motor vehicle crashes by age, and the injury severity and outcomes associated with obesity and motor vehicle crashes.

In a study published in the Journal of Trauma, Maryland CIREN team members documented unexpected physical and psychosocial outcomes resulting from lower-extremity injuries, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recent NSC initiatives in CIREN have involved the analyses of six-month and one-year post-injury interview data.

Additional information, research findings, and presentations.