Browse Publications Technical Papers 2010-01-1024

Frontal Crash Testing and Vehicle Safety Designs: A Historical Perspective Based on Crash Test Studies 2010-01-1024

This study tracks vehicle design changes and frontal crash test performance in NHTSA's NCAP and IIHS consumer information tests since the mid-90s for the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The objective was to provide insights into how passenger cars have changed in response to frontal consumer information tests. The history of major design changes for each model was researched and documented. The occupant injury measures from both NHTSA and IIHS were computed and the ratings compiled for several generations of both vehicles.
Changes in vehicle crash pulse and occupant injury measures from both NCAP and IIHS tests, and from Canadian low speed rigid barrier tests, when available, were used to assess driver frontal protection for various vehicle generations. Loading of the rigid barrier in NCAP tests was used to evaluate front end stiffness changes over the years. Overall, results indicate that the consumer testing programs have induced many improvements in both the Camry and Accord vehicle structures, and restraint systems technologies. Front end stiffness increased with the first Camry platform change after the introduction of the IIHS test as contrasted with a decrease in the front end stiffness for the Accord. Overall, advances in restraint technologies, specifically seat belt load limiters, seemed to permit the resulting higher acceleration to be accommodated at the NCAP and IIHS test conditions. The Camry, in contrast to the Accord, appeared to be more optimized for the NCAP test condition, where it recorded an increase in the risk of chest injury and possibly head injury in crashes with a smaller occupant size and at a lower speed than the current NCAP and IIHS test speeds.


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