Crash scene photography in motor vehicle crashes without air bag deployment

Craig D. Newgard, Katherine A. Martens, Evelyn M. Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether vehicle characteristics, measured using crash scene photography, are associated with anatomic patterns of injury and severity of injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) without air bag deployment. Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted over 22 months, using 12 fire departments serving two hospitals. Two vehicle photographs (exterior and interior) were taken at each MVC. Vehicular variables were assigned by grading the photographs with a standardized scoring system, and outcome information on each patient was collected by chart review. Results: Five hundred fifty-nine patients were entered into the study. Frontal crashes and increasing passenger space intrusion (PSI) were associated with head, facial, and lower-extremity injuries, while rear crashes were associated with spinal injuries. Restraint use had a protective effect in head, facial, and upper and lower extremity injuries, yet was associated with higher odds of spinal injury. Lack of restraint use, increasing PSI, and steering wheel deformity were associated with an increased hospital length of stay and hospital charges, yet only steering wheel deformity was associated with increasing injury severity when adjusting for other crash variables. Conclusions: Out-of-hospital variables, as obtained from crash vehicle photography, are associated with injury site, injury severity, hospital length of stay, and hospital charges in patients involved in MVCs without air bag deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-929
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Crash photography
  • Motor vehicle
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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