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Mechanics of a collision
Mass at rest remains at rest until acted upon by some external force (Newton).
In the same way a cue ball transfers energy to the object ball, a striking vehicle transfers energy to the struck vehicle.
The neck's structure is more subject to injury than any other portion of the vertebral column. It is vulnerably placed between the dorsal spine, which is relatively immobile, and the skull, a weight that must be balanced on the cervical spine and held in place by the supporting capsular, ligamentous, cartilaginous, and muscular structure.
Within .3 seconds of impact, the head reaches an acceleration of 2 to 2.5 times the maximum vehicle acceleration, which is faster than the body can react to protect itself.