Motor-vehicle injury patterns in emergency-department patients in a south-European urban setting

Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med. 2000;44:445-58.


The objectives are to identify the main injury patterns in the various types of user (of cars, motorcycles/mopeds, bicycles and pedestrians) injured in traffic crashes and treated in hospital emergency services, along with their main demographic characteristics. One-year cumulative survey all of patients attended to emergency departments in Barcelona, Spain, over a 12-month period (1998) for injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. Bivariate descriptive analyses were conducted to identify the different profiles of motor-vehicle injury patients by age, sex, user type, injured body region and type of injuries. ISS scoring was used to determine injury severity. Of the nearly 17,000 injured traffic victims during 1998, 62% were men. Young people between 15 and 39 (71.6%) were most affected. 42% were users of two-wheeled motor vehicles, followed by car occupants (32%) and pedestrians (24%). Neck sprain (33%) was the most common injury among car occupants, multiple contusion and contusion of lower limbs among two-wheeled motor vehicles (23.5% and 14% respectively) and pedestrians (17.3% and 14.4% respectively) and upper limb fractures (20%) among cyclists. Motorcycle and moped users, mainly young males, have the highest probability of suffering injuries, with lower limbs being the most affected anatomical region. Elderly pedestrians sustaining injuries to the lower limbs and the head contribute substantially to the overall injury situation.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*