the incidence, severity and anatomical distribution of permanent disability were studied in a sample of road traffic accident (rta) casualties all of whom were detained in hospital for more than 10 nights. there were 265 such cases out of a total of 3541 living rta casualties brought to one hospital over a two year period in 1974/76: one hundred and four were vehicle occupants, 61 pedestrians, 81 motorcyclists and 19 bicyclists. of these 83 suffered permanent disability. five categories of disability severity were delineated: nil, slight, moderate, severe and very severe. no severe or very severe disability was seen in bicyclists. severe and very severe disability together appeared to be most frequent amongst motorcyclists. if all severities are taken together the head and lower limbs were the regions of the body most commonly incurring disability. severe disability occurred most frequently to the head, to the upper limbs and lower limbs and very severe disability only to the brain and spinal cord. if it can be assumed that severe or very severe disability is unlikely to have been incurred in out-patients or in those detained for 10 nights or less, the incidence of severe and very severe disability in this sample as a whole (3541 casualties) would be of the order of 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. the degree of correlation between permanent disability and a number of factors related to it is discussed.(a)

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