Spinal Injuries and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries are on the Rise
Although the number of fatalities from motor vehicle collisions (MVC) has reached an all-time low in recent years, innovations such as laminated windshields, collapsable steering wheels, more effective restraint systems, and an increasingly more crashworthy overall structure have greatly improved the survivability of these crashes. But the low fatality statistics tells only half of the story. Figures that are less often reported are the millions of non-fatal crashes that raise the annual estimated comprehensive price tag of MVC to more than $346 billion. The majority of these occur at speed changes of under 15 mph according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Three million of these crashes result in whiplash-type injuries, according to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, contributing about $43 billion (12%) to this huge comprehensive cost. This is one motivation behind the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) practice of evaluating and ranking the relative safety of cars with regard to whiplash protection. Without a decent rating in this category, the car, SUV, or truck will not earn the Institute’s Top Safety Pick award.
So why this high cost for whiplash injuries? Because nearly half of the victims require prolonged treatment and suffer long-term symptoms. Many suffer mild traumatic brain injuries as well. About 10% of the victims become disabled. And most physicians simply do not have the specialized training to provide the most effective treatment. Dr. Jerry J. Miller has been certified by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego as an expert in this very specialized area of science, which requires insight into the physics of the actual crash mechanics and the occupant kinematics—or motions resulting from the crash—as well as all of the latest diagnostic methods and treatments approaches. For the past 15 years, the institute has been conferring this highest level of certification to only 100 physicians each year.