A sample of 219 road accident victims suffering from lower back strain injuries were studied over a three year period. The vehicles they had been travelling in were examined to assess the impact severity and, where possible, measurements were made of seat and head restraint adjustment with the subject sitting in the vehicle. Each subject was interviewed to assess the disability resulting from their injuries, and their progress was followed for two y ears post-accident. It proved impossible to recruit a sample consisting purely of lower back injury cases - 95% of the sample also had neck strain injuries. Several personal factors (age, sex, back length and experience of previous back problems) were found to influence injury severity and/or rate of recovery from injury. Very few vehicle-related factors were found to have any consistent effect; those that were are discussed. Separate analysis of particular models of vehicles failed to clarify the picture, probably because of the drastic reduction in sample size involved. Recommendations are given for the conduct of any future, similar studies. (A)

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