Soft tissue cervical spinal injuries occurred in 179 out of 1197 consecutive victims of road traffic accidents who needed to attend hospital; an incidence of 15 per cent. It was most common in female (P less than 0.01), restrained car occupants (P less than 0.05) in the 40-49 years age group (P less than 0.025). It was less common in rear seat passengers (P less than 0.001). Most were victims of collisions from the rear but significant numbers also occurred in other types of accidents. The incidence of associated injuries was low.