A recent study was conducted to determine the age at which people are at greatest risk for a fatal head injury after a car accident. They found that an increase in mortality occurred in people over the age of 60. Despite an association with decreased crash severity, and no difference in Injury Severity Score as compared to people under the age of 60, people over the age of 60 were more likely to have had higher crash speeds, more frequent rollover accidents, and increased alcohol involvement.
In addition, mortality after head injury in people over the age of 60 was related to contact with the airbag, door, or seat of the car. People under the age of 60 were more likely to have sustained a head injury from contact to the roof of the car. This suggests that future vehicle design could consider safety features that address the higher risks for older adults.
Richmond R, Aldaghlas TA, Burke C, et al. Age: Is it all in the head? Factors influencing mortality in elderly patients with head injuries. The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. (March 2011).