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NHTSA Lightweighting and Safety Studies

Historically, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in support of CAF? rulemaking indicate that lightweighting vehicles lead to degraded safety. However, recent studies provided to NHTSA show that good designs for lightweighting can provide equivalent safety. This presentation highlights two studies funded by NHTSA in part to address these latest findings. The first is a George Washington University study, ?Investigate Opportunities for Lightweighting Vehicles Using Advanced Plastics and Composites.? The second is an Electricore study, ?Mass Reduction for Light-Duty Vehicles for Model Years 2017-2015. The findings presented include that it is possible to lightweight vehicles and provide equivalent safety and that costs drive designers toward the use of advanced metals. The final remarks also identified needs: data for changing prevailing attitudes, demonstration programs to demonstrate efficacy of good designs, improved education, and improved predictive engineering.

Tom Hollowell, WTH Consulting LLC

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