ANALYSIS OF OCCUPANT PROTECTION PROVIDED TO 50
PERCENTILE MALE DUMMIES SITTING MID-TRACK AND 5
PERCENTILE FEMALE DUMMIES SITTING FULL-FORWARD IN CRASH TESTS OF PAIRED VEHICLES WITH REDESIGNED AIR BAG SYSTEMS
Historically, the United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (FMVSS No. 208) has used 50th percentile male dummies seated in the mid-track position to evaluate occupant protection in frontal crashes. As a result of field investigations of air bag-related fatalities and serious injuries involving short-stature female drivers, more recent research has focused on improving crash protection using the 5th percentile female dummy in a full-forward seat position.
A series of 48 kmph (30 mph) full frontal rigid barrier crash tests were conducted with belted and unbelted 5th percentile female dummies in the full-forward seat position of Model Year (MY) 1999 vehicles with redesigned air bags (certified to the FMVSS No. 208 sled test). Tests were also conducted using identical vehicles with the 50th percentile male dummies seated mid-track. In the belted test series, the 5th percentile female dummy had higher chest acceleration and neck injury values (Nij) when compared to the 50th percentile male dummy. Chest accelerations were increased approximately 23 percent and Nij values were also 2–3 times higher for the 5 th percentile female dummy. Lower steering wheel rim contact, shallow chest-to-steering wheel distances, and high torso belt tension were noted in cases of high chest acceleration and Nij.
In the unbelted test series, the 5th percentile female Nij values were either 2–5 times higher, or approximately equivalent to the 50th percentile male dummy. One Nij test failure was repeated with the 5th percentile female seated 76 mm (3 in.) back from full-forward and consequently the driver Nij value was reduced from 1.29 to 0.74. Two vehicles also resulted in large hyperextensions of the 5 th percentile female passenger dummy’s neck from a combination of disproportionate air bag loadings to the head/chest region, instrument panel contacts through the air bag, and submarining. Chest accelerations for the unbelted 5th percentile female test series were typically lower or approximately equivalent to the 50th percentile male in the driver position and were typically higher or approximately equivalent to the 50th percentile male in the passenger position. Passenger chest-to-instrument panel contacts were noted in some cases.
Lori Summers, William T. Hollowell, Aloke Prasad
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, United States of America
International Technical Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles