The Accuracy of Crash Data Saved by Ford Restraint Control Modules in Lowcspeed Collisions 2004-01-1214
Crash data recorded by the restraint control module (RCM) installed in newer Ford passenger vehicles have recently become available to investigators. To quantify the accuracy of the crash data in low-speed collisions, two RCM-equipped vehicles were exposed to 84 aligned frontal barrier collisions with speed changes up to 13.5 km/h. The accuracy of the speed change reported by the RCM ranged from an underestimate of 1.8 km/h to an overestimate of 0.3 km/h. The error varied with speed change. The RCMs were mounted on a linear sled to investigate their sensitivity to specific collision pulse parameters. For both RCMs, the first eight acceleration data points were duplicated at the end of the data and the record of the crash pulse was often incomplete. Based on the results of this study, crash investigators need to carefully interpret the RCM-reported acceleration and speed change data before using it to reconstruct low-speed collisions involving Ford vehicles.