Vehicle and Occupant Response in Heavy Truck to Passenger Car Sideswipe Impacts 2001-01-0900
There have been a number of papers written about the dynamic effects of low speed front to rear impacts between motor vehicles during the last several years. This has been an important issue in the field of accident analysis and reconstruction because of the frequency with which the accidents occur and the costs of injuries allegedly associated with them. Sideswipe impacts are another, often minor, type of motor vehicle impact that generate a significant number of injury claims. These impacts are difficult to analyze for a number of reasons. First, there have been very few studies in the literature describing the specific dynamic effects of minor sideswipe impacts on the struck vehicles and their occupants. Those that have been performed have focused on the impact of two passenger cars. Second, typical accident reconstruction programs are not well suited to accurately determine the vehicle speed changes and accelerations resulting from impacts where the line of the impact force lies far from the vehicle center of gravity, and is influenced by specific features of vehicle geometry.
This paper will present the results of two controlled low speed sideswipe impact tests between a crane truck and a passenger car. The tests were performed to duplicate a real world accident that resulted in litigation. The acceleration near the car’s center of gravity is measured, as is the acceleration of the head of an adult male human volunteer. In addition, the relationship between vehicle damage and speed change is addressed for the subject impacts, and the occupant kinematics are described. Finally, the effect of full and partial vehicle braking by the passenger car in the impacts is discussed. The data presented will give some reference for comparison in other heavy truck to car sideswipe accidents.