University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Cost of spinal cord injuries caused by rollover automobile crashes


Burns, S.P., Kaufman, R.P., Mack, C.D., & Bulger, E



Publication Info:

Injury Prevention, 16(2):74-78


OBJECTIVE: To determine the reduction in direct cost for treatment of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in belted occupants involved in rollover automobile crashes in the USA that would result if severe roof intrusion were eliminated.
METHODS: Risk of SCI per rollover crash and by belted/unbelted status was calculated for roof intrusion magnitude categories using 1993-2006 National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) data. Direct costs of SCI based on neurological level and completeness of SCI were calculated using data from the National SCI Statistical Center.
RESULTS: A reduction in rate of SCI for belted occupants with >15 cm roof intrusion to the rate seen for belted occupants with 8-15 cm roof intrusion would reduce the direct cost of SCI by approximately $97 million annually.
CONCLUSION: There would be substantial cost savings solely by a reduction in one uncommon type of injury, SCI, if severe roof intrusion were eliminated.

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