According to the DoT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were nearly 6.76 million car accidents in 2019, the latest year for which complete data is available. These resulted in 2.74 million injuries and over 36,000 deaths.
In a car accident, any part of the body can be injured to one degree or another, but the spinal cord is especially vulnerable. Together with the brain, the spinal cord composes the central nervous system; it is a bundle of nerves and cells covered by layers of tissue called meninges, which are in turn wrapped by a protective column of bones called vertebrae. Neurosurgeons divide the vertebral column into three regions: the cervical (comprising the neck), thoracic (chest), and lumbar (lower back). The spinal cord has over 40 of these vertebrae.