Vehicle Frontal Collision: Comparative Analysis Between Brazilian and United Nations Regulations 2002-01-3560
Frontal crash regulation was introduced in Brazil in the early seventies. It was CONTRAN Resolution no. 463/73, item 4, which was based in the United Nations regulation (ECE R 12), that was state-of-the-art at that time. It reflected very well the concerns that existed then: during the test a vehicle was launched at a speed of 48 km/h against a rigid barrier. After the crash-test only two criteria were verified, in order to check conformity to the regulation: the steering-wheel center maximum displacement in the horizontal direction, which should be smaller than 127 mm, and the fuel quantity allowed to eventually leak from the circuit and reservoir, that should be lower than 28 grams per minute. In that methodology there was no evaluation of the possible injuries that could happen to the vehicle occupants.
Test conditions, in terms of vehicle speed, type of barrier and relative position between vehicle and barrier proved later on not to be statistically very representative of the most common real life frontal vehicle collisions. This article shows some statistic data concerning the frequency and the type of accidents that cause more victims.
New United Nations regulation concerning frontal vehicle impact, ECE R 94, which became effective in 1998, is presented and compared in details to current Brazilian regulation. It actually reproduces a frontal vehicle impact, at 56 km/h, against an asymmetric and non-rigid barrier, that only touches 40 % of the vehicle width, on the steering-wheel side. Two Hybrid-III dummies are placed in the front seats, in order to represent vehicle occupants. Those dummies are equipped with sensors, that can measure and register over 20 different parameters, including forces, accelerations and displacements, in several organs of the dummies' bodies. Each one of those measured parameters is then compared to the limits defined by the regulation, in order to evaluate the injuries that real human beings would have suffered if submitted to the same kind of frontal crash involving the tested vehicle. Those criteria are called bio-mechanical criteria.
It seems very important to update Brazilian regulation by introducing bio-mechanical criteria and test conditions that are more representative of real life accidents. Adoption of United Nations' ECE R 94 regulation, that is one of the most modern and comprehensive ones in the world, could be a good choice. By doing so new vehicle models would incorporate state-of-the-art passive safety features that would bring extra protection to their occupants and would surely contribute, along with the renovation of the car population, to improve national statistics on traffic serious injuries and fatalities.