Page 22-23 - NeuRA 2013 in Review

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Reducing the risk
of injury among motorcyclists
Researchers have developed and
evaluated an early education intervention
program on the use of child restraints.
Vehicle restraint use and early
childhood education intervention
Injury in car crashes is a major source of
death and disability in children.
As a direct result of NeuRA’s research,
Australian legislation was changed in 2009
requiring use of child restraint systems up
to age seven. But education programs are
essential to achieve widespread best practice.
Our researchers have developed and
evaluated an early education intervention
program which teaches children aged three
to five years, their parents, and their carers,
how to correctly use the best restraints for
their size. This year, some of this material
has been incorporated into NSW Transport’s
Road Safety Education Program.
Global maps of spinal cord injury
Our scientists have collaborated with international
partners to update an epidemiological map of
traumatic spinal cord injury, and have produced
the first estimate of a global incidence rate, at 23
cases per million people. They have also assisted
with the release of the first global map for non-
traumatic spinal cord injury. This will allow the
international community to more easily access
information reflecting patterns of injury and possible
collaborations to help prevent these injuries from
occurring. It is particularly important, as the regions
of the world where the number of spinal cord injuries
are on the rise are the same regions that have the
highest mortality, and where the health systems are
least able to cope with the complexity of treatment.
Your Nervous System | 21
Motorcyclists are in a high-risk road user group. Currently 22% of serious injury and
16% of fatal injury in road crashes involve motorcyclists, despite the fact that
motorcycle usage accounts for only 1% of vehicle kilometres driven.
Our investigations into motorcycle crashes are aimed at improving current under-
standing around what factors increase risk of crash involvement and risk of serious
injury. In 2012, researchers talked to more than 500 motorcyclists across NSW to
develop a profile of motorcyclists’ characteristics. This will help put the risk factors
we identify in our crash studies into context.
We are also studying the qualities of protective clothing for motorcyclists, and the
potential role of fatigue in motorcycle crashes.
Clockwise from top left:
Dr Liz deRome (right) discusses protective clothing with
research physiotherapist and motorcyclist Betty Ramsay; Dr Daina Sturnieks
uses correct restraints for Luca and Elsie; Dr Bonne Lee works with international
partners on mapping spinal injuries; A test dummy used in NeuRA’s crash lab.