Thoracic Response of Belted PMHS, the Hybrid III, and the THOR-NT Mid-Sized Male Surrogates in Low-Speed, Frontal Crashes 2006-22-0009
Injury to the thorax is the predominant cause of fatalities in crash-involved automobile occupants over the age of 65, and many elderly-occupant automobile fatalities occur in crashes below compliance or consumer information test speeds. As the average age of the automotive population increases, thoracic injury prevention in lower severity crashes will play an increasingly important role in automobile safety. This study presents the results of a series of sled tests to investigate the thoracic deformation, kinematic, and injury responses of belted post-mortem human surrogates (PMHS, average age 44 years) and frontal anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) in low-speed frontal crashes. Nine 29 km/h (three PMHS, three Hybrid III 50th% male ATD, three THOR-NT ATD) and three 38 km/h (one PMHS, two Hybrid III) frontal sled tests were performed to simulate an occupant seated in the right front passenger seat of a mid-sized sedan restrained with a standard (not force-limited) 3-point seatbelt. All occupants were instrumented to record deformation contours and accelerations of the thorax at multiple locations. The ATD subjects were also instrumented to record the internal deformation of the thorax via multi-point tracking systems. For the 29 km/h tests, PMHS maximum chest deflections ranged from 10% to 19% of the undeformed chest depth, and peak midspine accelerations ranged from 21 to 24 g. The average peak internal mid-sternal (sternum slider) deflections for the Hybrid III were 23 mm (29 km/h tests) and 30 mm (38 km/h tests). The average maximum Hybrid III sternal deflection of 23 mm measured in the 29 km/h tests corresponds to an AIS 3+ thoracic injury risk of 14% or greater for people 70 years and older. This result suggests that three-point belted elderly occupants without shoulder-belt force limiters could experience non-trivial thoracic injuries in frontal crashes that are below NHTSA's compliance and/or consumer information test severities.