Mortality and injury patterns associated with roof crush in rollover crashes

Samuel P. Mandell, Robert Kaufman, Christopher D. MacK, Eileen M. Bulger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: In the United States, a significant number of spine injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and deaths result from motor vehicle rollover crashes each year though they make up a small percentage of total crashes. We sought to explore the relationship between these injuries and the degree of roof crush. Methods: We searched the NASS CDS database for belted, adult (≥16), non-middle seat passengers involved in rollover crashes from 1993 to 2006. We also searched the CIREN database for illustrative cases. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between different levels of roof crush and mortality, severe injury (AIS ≥3) to the spine, spinal cord, and head injury. Results: The risk of mortality, TBI, and spine injury all increased as the degree of roof crush increased. For mortality increased risk occurred at >15 cm [15-30 cm: OR 2.089 (95% CI: 1.461-2.987); >30 cm: OR 6.301 (95% CI: 4.369-9.087)]. For TBI, increased risk was seen above 15 cm crush [15-30 cm: OR 1.52 (95% CI: 1.045-2.21); >30 cm: OR 3.672 (95% CI: 2.456-5.490)]. For spine injury increased risk was seen above 8 cm crush [8-15 cm: OR 1.968 (95% CI 1.273-3.043); 15-30 cm: OR 2.530 (95% CI 1.634-3.917); ≥30 cm OR 2.682 (95% CI 1.474, 4.877). Results were similar across the different statistical models. Conclusion: There is an association between the degree of roof crush and mortality, spine injury, and head injury in rollover crashes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1331
Number of pages6
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Occupant safety
  • Rollover
  • Roof crush
  • Roof intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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