Local Doctor Becomes Motor Vehicle Crash Forensic Risk Analysis Certified at CRASH 2006

Tallahassee - Did you know that over three million whiplash injuries occur each year resulting from motor vehicle crashes? Of these whiplash injuries, 500,000 people will have chronic problems and up to 300,000 will have some degree of disability. Apart from the effect on health, there's a significant cost to society. Approximately $43 billion of total annual HARM is attributable to whiplash and related injuries. (HARM is a metric for quantifying the total societal cost of road trauma.)

Thanksgiving weekend launched the holiday season and the busiest travel time of the year. According to AAA estimates approximately 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday season - 31.7 million by car. Combined with wet and slippery highways, rainy nights, congested roads and holiday stress on drivers, it's important to pay close attention to safety and injury prevention practices to ensure safety on the roads and to minimize human impact in a possible crash.

Dr. Dennis Fiorini, of Fiorini Chiropractic Center, says that consumers need to be educated about the issues surrounding whiplash - both concerning its treatment and, importantly, its prevention. In order to more effectively treat persons injured in motor vehicle crashes, Dr. Fiorini recently became certified in Motor Vehicle Crash Forensic Risk Analysis at the CRASH 2006 International Whiplash Conference in San Diego, California. This certification is through the Spine Research Institute of San Diego (SRISD), a research center devoted to the investigation of motor vehicle crash injury. For the past 19 years, SRISD has focused research and education on the more common spinal injuries sustained in everyday motor vehicle crashes, such as whiplash and mild traumatic brain injuries.

CRASH 2006 featured a prestigious list of speakers from throughout the United States and abroad, representing a range of interests in automotive safety, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Yale Biomechanics Research Laboratory, the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, University of Aarhus (Denmark), Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine, the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, as well as private medical clinics, law practices, and engineering and research firms.

The research agenda for CRASH 2006 included full-scale live crash testing with both human subjects and high-tech crash test dummies in multiple low-speed crash tests. These crashes were created and analyzed, along with several other projects, in order to improve our understanding of injury mechanisms.

As part of this intensive three-day program, Dr. Fiorini also learned the very latest methods of forensic risk analysis to better understand not only the effects of the forces and loads imposed upon patients' spines and brains in low speed crashes, but also the various risk factors that can increase a person's chance for injury of long-term symptoms.

"By understanding the unusual biomechanics of this form of trauma, diagnostic methods and treatment can be much more effectively administered in the clinical setting," said Dr. Fiorini.

An evaluation of Event Data Recorders (EDR) - the car's "black box," and how it performs in low velocity crashes, and a comparison of Saab's new anti-whiplash head restraint seat with standard car seats using human volunteer subjects in full scale car-to-car crash tests was also part of the program.

Dr. Fiorini suggests that when traveling this holiday season, drivers who are serious about accident prevention should probably focus on one area that leads to many serious auto accidents: driver distractions. Cell phones are becoming the biggest distraction, and more and more states are banning their use by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. According to Dr. Fiorini, "Even if you live where it is permissible, it's an extremely bad idea to use a cell phone while driving, particularly if you've been on the road for several hours! Recent studies have shown a clear connection between phone use and car accidents."

Another form of distraction, and a common cause of car accident injuries, is 'rubbernecking.' This is the term for slowing down (sometimes suddenly) to look at an unusual situation happening on the road (or nearby). Often, people do this to check out car accidents, which can cause other motorists farther back who are not paying close attention to fail to slow down or stop in time. Rubbernecking is the #1 cause of all rear-end car accidents and, in particular, whiplash injuries, in the United States.

Whether traveling about Tallahassee this busy holiday season, or visiting friends and family, if you become involved in a motor-vehicle crash, be sure to see a medical professional afterwards. Chiropractic physicians treat more of these types of injuries than any other profession. Many times the injuries sustained in these accidents don't show up right away, and it would be a shame to start the New Year with unnecessary pain.

About the Spine Research Institute of San Diego:

The Spine Research Institute of San Diego (SRISD) provides research and education on spinal health and injury prevention, in particular, cervical spine injuries resulting from whiplash trauma. Since 1992, the Institute has offered the only available multi-module training program for health care professionals on critical aspects of whiplash traumatology. For more information, visit www.fiorinichiropractic.com