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Death causes among people instantly killed in road accidents in the Rhône département

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Background & Policy context

In France, knowledge on death causes of road accident victims who are killed instantly in the crash remains insufficient or even non-existent.

The Rhône 'département', which keeps a medical register of road accident victims, proposes to determine the nature and frequency of the various lethal wounds by an echographic and radiographic examination of victims who die immediately.


A summarised preliminary study of this research project confirms that this post-mortem diagnosis method allows, in the absence of an autopsy (an examination which is rare and difficult to obtain in France), to find the fatal injuries which pass unnoticed during detailed examination of the body.


This epidemiologic approach focuses on death causes. Therefore, it will be possible to better quantify the different levels of vulnerability of road users according to their age and sex.

In addition, the environment of this study will also enable us to know other causes of immediate death in a road accident from various etiologies (cardiopathies, vascular pathologies, etc). The analysis of the non-vital lesion tables is an indicator of major importance for evaluating the progress made and thus, for better evaluating the impact of preventative measures.


Collaborations with the Institut Médico-Légal de Lyon, the Villefranche-sur-Saône funeral home, the emergency services and the road traffic police, as well as the families of the victims, will allow the victims who died immediately to be identified.


The death cause in the case of 70 road accident victims that died instantly and who did not have post-mortems, will be researched.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
METLTM: Ministère de l'Equipement, des Transports, du Logement, du Tourisme et de la Mer (Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Housing, Tourism and the Sea):(1) DSCR (Road Traffic and Safety Directorate)(2) DRAST (Research Directorate)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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