Biomechanics of 4-Point Seat Belt Systems in Farside Impacts 2006-22-0012
The biomechanical behavior of a harness style 4-point seat belt system in farside impacts was investigated through dummy and post mortem human subject tests. Specifically, this study was conducted to evaluate the effect of the inboard shoulder belt portion of a 4-point seat belt on the risk of vertebral and soft-tissue neck injuries during simulated farside impacts.
Two series of sled tests simulating farside impacts were completed with crash dummies of different sizes, masses and designs to determine the forces and moments on the neck associated with loading of the shoulder belt. The tests were also performed to help determine the appropriate dummy to use in further testing. The BioSID and SID-IIs reasonably simulated the expected kinematics response and appeared to be reasonable dummies to use for further testing. Analysis also showed that dummy injury measures were lower than injury assessment reference values used in development of side impact airbags.
Six post-mortem human subjects, three small females and three medium sized males, were tested under conditions similar to those used for the dummy tests. The carotid arteries were pressurized in an attempt to simulate the corresponding neck vascular response of living humans. Post-test autopsies conducted on all test subjects indicated an absence of test-induced arterial or vertebral injuries. Further, comparative analysis of kinematics confirmed the adequacy of the BioSID and SID-IIs in simulating cadaveric response in farside impacts with harness style 4-point belts.
A number of issues remain to be solved before the implementation of 4-point seat belts in vehicles, including, among others, the risk of injury to a pregnant woman and her fetus in frontal crashes. The risk of fetal injury in pregnant occupants may be related to the location of the 4-point seat belt's buckle and latch junction at the centerline of the mother's abdomen.