Rollover Severity and Occupant Protection - A Review of NASS/CDS Data 2007-01-0676
The subject of whether roof deformation in and of itself causes occupant injury in rollover accidents has been emotionally, scientifically and legally contested for decades. Since the publication of the earliest scientific research on the issues of automobile roof strength and non-ejected passenger protection in rollover crashes, the two views have been generally diametrically opposed to one another, and the debate continues. In order to gain perspective on the subject, the question must be answered as to how effective past and current automotive vehicle roof structures, designed to meet current government and industry standards, have proven to be in protecting vehicle occupants during real-world accidents involving the rollover of the vehicle they occupy. The purpose of the effort reported here is to provide an objective evaluation, using publicly available data collected in the government NASS/CDS system, of the relative protection from serious or fatal head, face and neck injuries as provided by current vehicle roof structures. In addition, the data were evaluated in the context of the relative frequency of rollover accidents as rated by one-quarter turns of rollover motion (one complete rollover being four quarter-turns), and the percentage of vehicle occupants involved in rollovers as compared to other common types of vehicle accidents.