Driver Restraint Systems: Assuring a Rational Level of Driver Safety 2002-01-3323
By focusing solely on the question of safety harness failure, investigators and decision makers who act on the conclusions of those investigators can miss the point. The issues surrounding materials, design, installation and quality/reproducible performance are still being examined. The inherent assumption seems to be that if the harness breaks, it isn't doing its job. Instead, it can be argued, if the harness fails but the driver survives, the system has worked. In reality, failure can be a harness that stretches without breaking and injures the driver; while success may be a harness that tears after attenuating the g-loading long enough to protect the driver from traumatic injury or death. The pass-fail nature of the current specifications do not address individual components in the harnesses. The authors conclude from a series of crash tests conducted in the summer of 2002, there is enough variation in the real world of safety harness systems to call for more standardization in the manufacture and installation specifications.