Above the age of 65 ??? Even a violent jolt over speed-breaker can lead you to spine fracture.

: Dr Himanshu Tyagi.

Mrs Sudha 73 year old housewife, had a painful lock down period recently due to a fracture in her lower spine.

She suffered this spinal fracture 5 months ago while traveling in a bus which jolted over a speed-breaker.

There are many similar stories where passengers have suffered serious injuries due to flawed speed breaker designs.

Flawed speed-breakers can cause serious injuries in 2 wheeler traveller’s.

Common injuries in 4

1) Lower spine fractures (40%)
2) Neck injuries (30%)
3) Head injuries(25%)
4) Tail bone injury and others (5 %)

Medically speaking injuries due speed-breaker bumps can be life-threatening. 2 wheeler drivers are at a greater risk when it comes to fatal injuries or limb amputation.

Can cause compression fractures in lower spine

Common injuries 2 wheeler-

1) Head injury & Limb injuries. (80%)- without helmet.
2) Limb injuries exclusive -40 %.
3) Spine/chest/pelvic – 40 %

Types based on mode of injury –

1) LAUNCHING IMPACT – Head injury and neck/cervical fracture. (Occurs when passengers bounces and hit the roof of the car).

2) LANDING IMPACT – lower spinal (Lumbar spine) fractures. (Occurs when passengers lands on buttock in flexed spinal position).

Relation between vehicle & injuries –

1) 2 wheelers : skid over flawed speed-breaker. Head injury, limb injuries, cuts, bruises.

2) Car : Jolt over speed-breaker. Head injury, neck injury, lower back fractures.

3) Bus : Landing Impact. Lower back fractures.

4 wheeler’s are comparatively safer as life-threatening injuries are rare even though spinal fractures are common, which may require bed rest up to 2 months or occasionally a surgery.

People at risk for fracture

1) People above the age of 75.
2) Cancer patients.
3) Osteoporosis patient.
4) Passenger at the back seat of car (Launching impact).
5) Tall individual in a car with low head clearance.
6) Passengers at the rear end of bus (Landing impact).
7) Public transport/Bus with poor shock absorbing mechanics.
8) Speeding vehicles (speed about 65km/h is the critical velocity).
9) Not wearing seat belts.

Though as per the official dimensions, a speed-breaker should be at least 3.7 metres wide, should have a radius of curvature (ROC) of 17 metres and height of 10 cm but many a times we see speed-breakers with flawed design in India (Narrow & high speed-breakers)

Official recommendation for Speed limit over a speed breaker is less than 25 km/h in India. However we see people over-speeding on a speed-breaker and getting impact in spine due to the jolt.


Senior consultant Spine surgeon, Delhi NCR.

Ph: +919654095717


Published by A Contemplating Doctor

An Orthopaedic surgeon with keen interest in public health and Indian healthcare policies.

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