Studying Motor Vehicles and Other Types of Injuries

Reducing injuries from motor vehicle crashes and other types of accidents is the primary goal of the William Lehman Injury Research Center at the Ryder Trauma Center. Currently, researchers are studying the relationship between the types of injuries suffered by drivers and passengers in motor vehicle crashes and how cars and truck are built and driven.

Founded in 1991 and named for a retired U.S. congressman who was dedicated to improving highway safety, the Lehman Center is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automobile industry and private companies.

The center’s team is building a database using its own computer software to try to determine the linkages between injuries, the type of crash and the type of vehicle. For example, the research team examined CT scans of injured drivers and found that drivers who were strapped in by a shoulder belt but neglected to use lap belts were more vulnerable to liver injuries in a crash. Because a damaged liver can lead to fatal internal bleeding, that finding was rapidly conveyed to other trauma centers, and lives have been saved as a result.

Eventually, the data being collected at the Lehman Center may lead to better guidelines for what first providers and emergency room doctors nationwide should do when they examine a crash victim.