Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-01-1194
2004-03-08

Crash Severity: A Comparison of Event Data Recorder Measurements with Accident Reconstruction Estimates 2004-01-1194

The primary description of crash severity in most accident databases is vehicle delta-V. Delta-V has been traditionally estimated through accident reconstruction techniques using computer codes, e.g. Crash3 and WinSmash. Unfortunately, delta-V is notoriously difficult to estimate in many types of collisions including sideswipes, collisions with narrow objects, angled side impacts, and rollovers. Indeed, approximately 40% of all delta-V estimates for inspected vehicles in the National Automotive Sampling System / Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/CDS) 2001 are reported as unknown.
The Event Data Recorders (EDRs), now being installed as standard equipment by several automakers, have the potential to provide an independent measurement of crash severity which avoids many of the difficulties of accident reconstruction techniques. This paper evaluates the feasibility of replacing delta-V estimates from accident reconstruction with the delta-V recorded by EDRs. The analysis is based on over 500 NASS/CDS cases from 2000 - 2002 which have corresponding EDR datasets. The potential of extracting manual belt use from EDRs is also discussed and compared with the corresponding results from NASS gathered by accident investigators. Although EDRs can greatly enhance the investigation of a crash, the study finds that current EDRs are not perfect. The paper discusses the limitations of current EDR technology and the opportunites for enhancement of future Event Data Recorders.

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