Earlier this week, six Charlotte children were injured in the University area when a pickup truck allegedly rear-ended the school bus in which they were riding. At the time of the crash, it was reported that the school bus was stopped at a red light.
All the injured students were treated for minor injuries and were released from the Carolinas Medical Center the same day. The drivers of the truck and the school bus were also treated for injuries.
One of the most typical injuries that occur in rear-end collisions is the whiplash neck injury. Scientists from Italy's Technical University in Milan have described whiplash as "an issue of rapid 'acceleration-deceleration' with energy transferred to the neck in rear-end or side-impact collisions"; they are now working on a new kind of headrest for car seats, which would be easy to adjust yet would lock in place automatically in a collision, keeping the motorists' heads from swinging sharply back and thus helping reduce the incidence of whiplash.
Whiplash injuries may be difficult to diagnose initially, are often difficult to treat, and may lead to long-term disability. One recent study has shown that women have a far greater risk of suffering whiplash injuries than men do. Interestingly, the author of the study concluded that the difference is due in part to differences between men and women's sitting positions inside a car.
Unfortunately, most school buses have fairly high seats but lack headrests. In addition, children riding in school buses are often seated in awkward positions, playing or talking to friends who are sitting in other parts of the bus. The studies of rear-end collisions seem to suggest that these factors would increase the chances of whiplash injuries when school buses are hit from behind.