Crash test dummy

Adult safety


Improving rear seat safety


Safety in cars has improved dramatically over the last few decades with enormous improvements in vehicle design and safety systems. The one area of vehicle safety that has received little attention, and therefore has not seen as much improvement is the rear seat. Older drivers and passengers are also at increased risk of injury and death in crashes, and with the ageing population finding ways to reduce this risk is an increasing health priority area.


Vehicle Safety Study

This research will provide an evidence-base for countermeasures for injuries to rear seated vehicle occupants. Specifically the results will provide new data on rear seat occupant injuries, key injury mechanisms and how these might vary by age of occupant. This will provide the basis for regulatory or consumer evaluation of the rear seat as it will define the types of injuries and injury mechanisms need to be controlled, and for which occupants. In turn this will lead to enhanced rear seat safety across the Australian vehicle fleet and a corresponding drop in casualty rates for rear seat occupants.

Our study will also enhance the evidence-base relating to the relationship of known crash risk factors such as speed, fatigue and intoxication with crash and injury outcome (in terms of severity). This information will be useful to those setting priority areas for, and designing, road safety campaigns as well as allow for the improvement of current coding schemes used by organizations collecting mass crash statistics such as the Police and NSW Roads and Traffic Authority.

Optimising rear seat protection in vehicles

This research is aimed at improving the protection provided to rear seat motor vehicle occupants in crashes. There are two distinct groups of rear seat occupants who have different needs – young children (≤ 8 years) for whom the first step in reducing injury in crashes has been shown to be the correct use of appropriate child-specific add-on restraints and older children and adult occupants, who use the existing restraint system in the vehicle. Our study involves evaluating the effectiveness of new technologies for improving injury outcomes for rear seat occupants, including existing technologies used in the front seat and novel methods for improving rear seat belt and seat fit. Additionally, we are looking to characterise the rates and bio-mechanical mechanisms of the injury to rear seated vehicle occupants (not using child restraints)

Our study has uncovered new data on rear seat occupant injuries, key injury mechanisms and restraint practices. This data will provide the basis for regulatory or consumer evaluation of the rear seat environment and creates an evidence base for countermeasures for injuries to rear seated vehicle occupants that can be implemented in Australia and abroad.

Estimating the true cost of crashes

This project aims to investigate the behavioral factors which contribute to the occurrence and severity of injuries to vehicle occupants, and to identify the real costs of these injuries to the community and the individual.

Rather than estimating costs through modeling procedures, actual costs will be obtained from hospital records and follow-up interviews with patients. The information collected in this study will highlight the true cost of road injury and will be invaluable in justifying and prioritizing future road safety initiatives. The information will also contribute to the development of evidence based road safety strategies.

What else is happening in Adult safety research at NeuRA?


During three decades on Australian television, two simple words brought us to attention.

‘Hello daaaahling’. Outrageous, flamboyant, iconic – Jeanne Little captivated Australians everywhere with her unique style, cockatoo shrill voice and fashion sense. "Mum wasn't just the life of the party, she was the party.” Katie Little, Jeanne’s daughter remembers. This icon of Australian television brought a smile into Australian homes. Tragically, today Jeanne can't walk, talk or feed herself. She doesn't recognise anyone, with a random sound or laugh the only glimpse of who she truly is. Jeanne Little has Alzheimer's disease. The 1,000 Brains Study NeuRA is very excited to announce the 1,000 Brains Study, a ground-breaking research project to identify the elements in our brains that cause life-changing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias. This study will focus on the key unresolved question: why do some of us develop devastating neurodegenerative diseases, while others retain good brain health? The study will compare the genomes of people who have reached old age with healthy brains against the genomes of those who have died from neurodegenerative diseases, with post mortem examination of brain tissue taking place at NeuRA’s Sydney Brain Bank. More information on the study can be found here. Will you please support dementia research and the 1,000 Brains Study and help drive the future of genetics research in Australia?