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Pattern of Injuries
The pattern of injury in transportation injuries varies considerably depending upon whether the victim is a vehicle occupant, a motorcyclist, a pedal cyclist or a pedestrian. When automobile crashes, there is flexion of the cervical and thoracic spines. A more common thoracic injury associated with deceleration is the ruptured aorta. In the front-seat passenger accidents, there is a greater number of skull fractures and brain damage.
Seatbelts and Airbag Injuries
seatbelt injuries are due to incorrectly adjusted straps. Bruising of the skin and underlying muscles and fractures may accompany a broken clavicle or sternum where the belt crosses them. Airbags can also cause serious and even fatal injuries called as airbag injuries. They vary from facial bruising, partial or complete amputation of fingers to dislocated and fractured arms or cervical spine and fatal head injuries. Eye injuries are common.
Injuries to Motorcyclist, Cyclist and Pedestrian
The two extremities of the body suffer most in motorcycle accidents showing high injury rates for chest and abdomen. Head injuries are common and often severe, causing most of the deaths. Impact with the road surface or another vehicle at speed causes skull fractures at any part of the head. An injury common with motorcycles is the tailgating accident. Pedal cyclists encounter secondary damage to shoulder, chest and arm, entrapment of leg, and compression of soft tissues.
When death occurs on the road or soon afterwards, there is usually evidence of organ damage, severe haemorrhage, blockage of air passages from blood, or traumatic asphyxia from fixation of the chest. For autopsy findings, identity of the body and continuity of evidence must be assured, the body should be seen clothed, blood samples must be retained for blood grouping. Homicidal traffic deaths are rare.