Forensic Medical Investigation of Motor Vehicle Incidents: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Medical Investigation of Motor Vehicle Incidents

1st Edition

By Michael P. Burke

CRC Press

240 pages | 90 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849378591
pub: 2006-11-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429246920
pub: 2006-11-27
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Forensic Medical Investigation of Motor Vehicle Incidents provides an in-depth study of the circumstances underlying motor vehicle incidents and allows for a reasoned analysis of a crash victim's injuries. It also gives law enforcement the tools to communicate relevant information to the forensic pathologists and trains pathologists to infer crucial clues to the scenario that they may then relate to the investigating officers.

Beginning with the design of the vehicle, its safety features and other mechanisms for avoiding collision or injury, the book then addresses the myriad behavioral and mitigating medical factors that impair human abilities and cause vehicular incidents. It details the correct forensic classification of injuries and reviews the direction, force, and nature of injury. Organized into incidents involving car-on-car and car-on-pedestrian, as well as bicycles, motorcycles, and heavy machinery, the book delves into extensive accounts of the various insults sustained by the body in the event of impact. This information gives trauma care practitioners the ability to quickly determine the nature and extent of the injuries sustained and allows them to provide faster more effective care to the survivors of the crash. To aid the pathologist in fulfilling the important task of finding a reasonable cause of death, the second portion of the book focuses on the postmortem examination, toxicology, and documented cause of death.

Written for all members of the investigative team, including forensic pathologists, police officers, safety engineers, and medical personnel in trauma care, Forensic Investigations of Motor Vehicle Incidents is a preliminary resource that facilitates communication among all those concerned with the causes and effects of vehicular incidents.

Table of Contents

Motor Vehicle Design and Causation of Injuries


Seat Belts




Antilock Braking Systems

Electronic Stability Control

Event Data Recorders

Design Features to Protect Pedestrians

Improvements in Lighting

Enhanced Rear Lighting

Adaptive Head Lighting

Intelligent Vehicle Systems

Behavioral Factors in Motor Vehicle Incidents

Driving at an Excessive Speed

Speed Cameras

Driving While Intoxicated With Alcohol

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Driving While Fatigued or Drowsy

Inattention and Distraction From the Task of Driving

Looked-but-Failed-to-See Errors

Behavior Associated With a History of Traffic Law Violations

Running Red Lights

Ignoring Traffic Signals

Aggressive Driving Behavior

Noncompliance With Seat Belts

Age-related Issues

Inexperienced Drivers

Driver Decision Errors

Medical Factors in Motor Vehicle Incidents


Medical Conditions

Cardiovascular System

Common Cardiac Conditions

Ischemic Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis)

Hypertensive Heart Disease

Other Cardiovascular Conditions


Aortic Dissection


Abnormal Cardiac Valves

Coronary Artery Abnormalities

Nervous System



Intracranial Haemorrhage

Investigations in Intracranial Haemorrhage

Driving After Stroke

Old Age and Dementia

Head Injury

Psychiatric Disorders

Endocrine System (Diabetes Mellitus)

Visual Problems

Sleep Apnea

Forensic Classification of Injuries



Definition and Overview

Direction of Impact

Surface and Nature of the Object

Shape of the Object

Abrasions from Indirect Forces



Direction and Nature of the Impact



Point of Impact

Surface and Shape of the Object

Degree of Bruising

Petechial Haemorrhages

Incised and Stab Injuries


Fractures and Ligament Injuries



Ligament Injury

Demonstration of Fractures and Ligament Injuries



Injuries Sustained by Motor Vehicle Occupants

Frontal Collision

Oblique Frontal Collisions

Unrestrained Occupant

Head Injury

Secondary Brain Injury

Deceleration Injury

Restrained Occupant

Blunt Chest Trauma

Blunt Abdominal Trauma

Pelvic and Lower Limb Trauma

Upper Arm

Spinal Injury

Side Impact Collisions

Injuries in Side Impact Collisions

Rear Impact Collisions

Injuries from Rear Impact

Rollover Collisions

Injuries in Rollover Incidents


Injuries Associated With Seat belts

Injuries Associated with Front Airbag Deployment

Side Airbags

Vehicle Mismatch

Pregnant Occupants

Injury Differences Between Drivers and Passengers

Injury Severity Scores

Vehicle Fires

Injuries Sustained by Pedestrians

Pedestrian Injuries

Upright Pedestrians Vs. Conventional Cars

Bumper Injuries


Joint injuries to the Lower Limb

Injuries to the Head

Injuries to the Neck

Injuries to the Upper Limbs

Pedestrians Vs. Larger, Flat-Fronted Vehicles (Vehicle-Pedestrian Mismatch)

Head Injuries

Abdominal Injuries

Chest injuries

Pelvic Injury

Lower Limb Injuries

Upper Limbs

Runover Injuries

Pediatric Pedestrian Injuries

Motor Vehicle Speed in Pedestrian Incidents

Injuries Associated with Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Heavy Vehicle Incidents


Human Factors

Injuries to Riders in Motorcycle Incidents

Rider or Pillion Passenger?

Injury Prevention Through Helmet Use

Bicycle Incidents

Bicycle-Pedestrian Incidents

Heavy Vehicle Incidents


Overview of Truck Collisions

Vehicle Factors

Injuries in Truck Collisions

Overview of Bus Collisions

Injuries in Bus/Coach Collisions

Postmortem Examination

The Postmortem Examination

Purpose of the Postmortem Examination

Ancillary Investigations

Radiographic Imaging

Forensic Photography

Additional Expert Opinions

External Examination

Internal Examination

Cardiovascular System

Natural Disease


Central Nervous System

Natural Disease


Primary Brain Injury

Secondary Brain Injury

Musculoskeletal System

Respiratory System

Gastrointestinal System


Genitourinary System

Reticuloendothelial System

Death from Burns

Other Investigations

Cause of Death

Summary of Anatomic Findings


Ethanol (Alcohol)



Actions of Ethanol

Social Factors


Methods of Analysis

The Alcohol Breath Test

Alcohol Interlock Devices

Interpretation of Toxicology Results

Forensic Calculations

Non-Alcohol Drugs and Driving




Effects of THC

Central Nervous Stimulants

Actions of Central Nervous System Stimulants



Cause of Death

Deaths at the Collision Scene

Early Deaths from Motor Vehicle Incidents

Delayed Deaths from Motor Vehicle Incidents


Trauma Pathophysiology

Damage Control Surgery

Organ Failure


Fat Embolism

Pulmonary Thromboembolism

Iatrogenic injury

Appendix 1: Scene Examination


Environmental Factors

Weather Conditions

Road Factors

Surface Water

Evidence from the Roadway

Tyre Marks



Collision Mark

Acceleration Mark

Flat Tyre Mark

Rolling Print

Collision Debris

Trace Evidence

Gouge and Scrape Marks

Fluid Runoff

Place of Rest

Pedestrian Incidents - Evidence from the Roadway

Appendix 2: Motor Vehicle Examination


Contact Damage

Paint Transfer


Induced Damage

Windshield Damage

Tire Damage

Headlights and Tail Lights

Pedestrian Incidents-Evidence From the Motor Vehicle


Restraint System Examination

Airbag Examination

Mechanical Issues

Appendix 3: Collision Reconstruction


Precollision Evaluation

Collision Evaluation

Postcollision Evaluation

Collision Reconstruction

Damage Analysis

Conservation of Momentum

Conservation of Energy Analysis

Pedestrian Collisions

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science