Child Side Impacts: Comparison of Vehicle Crush in Side Impacts from Field Investigations and U.S. Consumer Tests 2005-01-0286
A cooperative effort by multiple research organizations is being conducted in order to examine child occupants involved in vehicle side impacts. The overall goal of this study is to develop an understanding of how children are being injured in side impacts and what can be done to reduce the risk. This process involves an examination of three fundamental factors of side impacts. These include the behavior of vehicles involved in side impact, the risk and mechanism of injury to children, and the role of restraints or countermeasures. A comprehensive understanding of these three factors is needed prior to proposing and testing improvements that might reduce injury.
Previous and ongoing research into accident statistics is framing the issue of side impact by identifying the risks to the pediatric population involved in side crashes. One initial factor being considered is the relationship between vehicle crash characteristics and injury risk to children. Review of field data has documented such points as vehicle type, vehicle deformation, and impact kinematics as influencing injury outcome. This report has initiated a multistage process to investigate vehicle crash parameters and characteristics to determine why the influence on injury risk exists. This report and future work will examine the performance of vehicles in side impact and to understand the crash environment that children are exposed to. The goal will be to identify crash characteristics that best represent the injury producing environment and translate this into a repeatable laboratory test condition.
A comparison of the external crush of vehicles involved in real world side impacts with that of similar vehicles tested using conventional side impact procedures has been conducted. This effort has attempted to expand previous work by several research organizations that have investigated vehicle deformations in side impacts. Differences between the IIHS side impact test method and the US-Side NCAP tests are shown for mid-sized sedans. In addition, similarities between the IIHS side impact test method crush patterns and higher severity real world side impact crush patterns are provided. Additional work will be made using test reviews, case reviews, and computational analysis to better define the side impact environment for child occupants.