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Introduction

  • Albert I. King
Chapter

Abstract

This book deals with the subject of impact forces acting on the human body and the injuries resulting therefrom. The motivation for doing research to uncover the effects of impact on biological systems is to lower the rate of carnage on US highways and bi-ways that have become unacceptably high. The surprising fact is that the USA has lost over 3.6 million lives due to traffic crashes since 1899. This number is larger than that of the lives lost in all the wars it has been involved in since 1775. In 1966, the National Research Council published a report entitled Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society principally to deal with the issue of the rapidly rising fatality rate from automotive crashes. It rose from just over 36,000 in 1960 to almost 51,000 in 1966. The National Highway Traffic Safety Bureau was established in 1966 to set safety standards for motor vehicles sold in the USA. In 1983, Congress authorized the US Department of Transportation to initiate a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) by convening a panel of experts to determine what is known about injury and what research is needed to prevent or ameliorate it, including the role the federal government should play to increase the knowledge of injury. A NAS report, entitled Injury in America: A Continuing Public Health Problem, was published in 1985, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was commissioned to form the Center for Injury Prevention and Control to assist the Department of Transportation in enabling injury research in the USA. Automotive safety was high on the list of priorities. At the same time, the automotive industry was keenly aware of the problem but was resistant to federal intervention which can result in regulations that add to the cost of building a car. For the rest of the twentieth century, industry opposition gradually subsided, and the larger automotive companies became substantive sponsors of automotive safety research at many US universities and laboratories. As a result, injury research accelerated through government and industry funding, and the driving public was the principal beneficiary of this joint effort. The fatality rate in 2013 was 32,719.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert I. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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