The incidence and treatment of injuries involving the elderly road user are of increasing importance for all fields of trauma care to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Traffic accident reports were analyzed through technical and medical investigation for the involvement of elderly citizens.
In 12,309 documented traffic accidents between 1985 and 1998, 1,843 elderly citizens (65 years and older) were involved, 1,260 of which were reported to have been injured. The mean Injury Severity Score among the injured elderly citizens was 7.3. Of the injured elderly road users, 39.5% were car occupants, 27.4% were bicyclists, 29.6% were pedestrians, 1.8% were truck occupants, and 1.7% were motorcyclists. Of the elderly road users in cars, 53% were not injured, in contrast to only 1.1% of the bicyclists and 0.8% of the pedestrians. Serious or severe injuries (Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale, ≥2] occurred for 36.5% of the injured elderly road users as car occupants (unrestrained, 58%; restrained, 34%), 57.4% as bicyclists, and 65.4% as pedestrians
A high rate of motor injuries is associated with vehicle accidents and increased levels of severity among the elderly population. This finding is especially evident for elder pedestrians and bicyclists. Also of note, the elderly even appear to be at risk for sustaining an increased level of injury severity when they are restrained or belt protected.