Relationship of Crash Test Procedures to Vehicle Compatibility 2003-01-0900
This paper examines the effect that test barriers currently used for frontal and side impact tests have had on collision compatibility between different-sized vehicles. The peak force levels generated by the vehicles’ front structures are one of the significant factors in determining vehicle compatibility. It is shown from principles of mechanics that the use of fixed barriers as a test device may lead to higher force levels for front ends of larger vehicles and thus increase the incompatibility between large and small vehicles. Review of data from various sources supports this conclusion that the peak force levels of vehicles’ front ends have increased in proportion to their test mass.
Available crash data is also examined for a relationship between NCAP ratings of vehicles and the likelihood of serious and fatal injuries to occupants of those vehicles. These data do not show any relationship between the frontal NCAP ratings of vehicles and their rate of serious or fatal injuries. The side impact (or LINCAP) rating, however, shows relationship of decreasing fatalities and serious injuries with higher test ratings.