The Correlation Between Pedestrian Injury Severity in Real-Life Crashes and Euro NCAP Pedestrian Test Results
Journal article, 2011
Objective: The aim of the present study was to estimate the correlation between Euro NCAP pedestrian rating scores and injury outcome in real-life car-to-pedestrian crashes, with special focus on long-term disability. Another aim was to determine whether brake assist (BA) systems affect the injury outcome in real-life car-to-pedestrian crashes and to estimate the combined effects in injury reduction of a high Euro NCAP ranking score and BA. Methods: In the current study, the Euro NCAP pedestrian scoring was compared with the real-life outcome in pedestrian crashes that occurred in Sweden during 2003 to 2010. The real-life crash data were obtained from the data acquisition system Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition (STRADA), which combines police records and hospital admission data. The medical data consisted of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnoses and Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) scoring. In all, approximately 500 pedestrians submitted to hospital were included in the study. Each car model was coded according to Euro NCAP pedestrian scores. In addition, the presence or absence of BA was coded for each car involved. Cars were grouped according to their scoring. Injury outcomes were analyzed with AIS and, at the victim level, with permanent medical impairment. This was done by translating the injury scores for each individual to the risk of serious consequences (RSC) at 1, 5, and 10 percent risk of disability level. This indicates the total risk of a medical disability for each victim, given the severity and location of injuries. The mean RSC (mRSC) was then calculated for each car group and t-tests were conducted to falsify the null hypothesis at p <= .05 that the mRSC within the groups was equal. Results: The results showed a significant reduction of injury severity for cars with better pedestrian scoring, although cars with a high score could not be studied due to lack of cases. The reduction in RSC for medium-performing cars in comparison with low-performing cars was 17, 26, and 38 percent for 1, 5, and 10 percent of medical impairment, respectively. These results applied to urban areas with speed limits up to 50 km/h, although no significant reduction was found in higher speed zones. Regarding cars with BA, the null hypothesis could not be rejected at p = .05; hence, no significant results of injury reduction were found. Conclusions: A significant correlation between Euro NCAP pedestrian score and injury outcome in real-life car-to-pedestrian crashes was found. Injury reduction was found to be higher with increasing severity and level of permanent medical impairment. The difference between 1- and 2-star cars is 17 percent in mean risk of permanent medical impairment (mRSC) 1%+, 26 percent in mRSC 5%+, and 38 percent in mRSC 10%+ for crashes in speed zones up to 50 km/h. Brake assist was not found to provide a statistically significant injury reduction.