Motor Vehicle Accidents


(originally printed in the publication Southside Story)

See footage from an actual low speed crash test

As a chiropractor, Dr. Rob Fera has seen plenty of patients injured due to motor vehicle collisions. In 2003, he participated in a research project initiated by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, California.  The crash research was an extension of several years work conducted by the institute, employing both a state of the art  BioRID II dummy and human participants, in the low speed setting. The goal was to enable researchers to fine tune the dummies until they could mimic the human response to crashes, and to better understand potential biomechanical forces which could lead to injury.


Dr. Fera indicated that the outcome of this research showed that significant acceleration forces are generated in crashes as low as 8­ to 10 miles per hour, without any signs of damage to the vehicle.  In Dr. Fera's view this data helps dispel the notion that there is a relationship between the amount of vehicle damage, and the likelihood of injury. In stiff, modern vehicles, designed not to be damaged at low speeds, it appears that instead of the vehicle absorbing the impact forces, the human occupant tends to bear the brunt. In fact during several trials, accelerations of up to 13 G's were produced without damage to the automobile.

Insurance companies and in fact some health care practitioners who have generally equated an undamaged vehicle with an uninjured driver, are having to rethink their long held beliefs. research has allowed us to also understand that there are many risk factors that could lead to injury, some of which can be mitigated or reduced by drivers. The use of a headrest positioned to match the top of the driver's head, driving with an upright not reclined seatback, and use of a seatbelt, are some of the most significant ways to reduce whiplash potential.

 With the knowledge gained from this and other research, we are beginning to better understand the injury potential and best treatment options for rehabilitation following a collision.

 According to Dr. Fera one effective and recognized method is that of Chiropractic Care. As licensed, primary care practitioners, Chiropractors have experience in post collision injury management, can render a diagnosis, order and read x-rays and treat accident related injuries whether it be in the initial acute phase or the chronic phase.

 Dr. Fera, who earned his BSc in Human Kinetics from the University of Guelph, received his Doctor of Chiropractic qualification from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto in 1991. Originally from Sudbury, Dr. Fera has worked as a Race Medical Assistant in the INDY, IMSA and CART race car circuits. In 1997, he was rostered by the Ontario government as a Medical Rehabilitation  chiropractic assessor at at Health Sciences North, where  he worked in conjunction with medical specialists. 

He conducts Motor vehicle collision related assessments throughout Northern Ontario,  and has been conferred Certification in Medicolegal Expertise ( CMLE) by the Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators . 

 For further information or to arrange for a consultation, he can be reached at Southside Health and Rehabilitation located at 33 Godfrey Dr Copper Cliff, phone 522-7678. 

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