Opportunities for Injury Reduction in US Frontal Crashes: An Overview by Structural Engagement, Vehicle Class, and Occupant Age 2013-22-0017
An overview NASS study of US frontal crashes was performed to investigate crash involvement, driver injury distributions and rates in airbag equipped vehicles by vehicle class and structural engagement. Frontal crash bins were based on taxonomy of structural engagement, i.e., Full Engagement, Offset, Between Rails and Corner impact crashes. A new classification of Corner impacts included frontal small overlap impacts with side damage as coded by NASS CDS. Belted drivers of two age groups, between 16 and 50 and over 50 years old, were considered. Vehicles were grouped into light and heavy passenger cars and lights trucks, and vans. A method to identify and address overly influential NASS weights was developed based on considerations of weighting factor statistics. The new taxonomy, with an expanded definition of corner impacts, allowed a more comprehensive classification of frontal crash modes. Results highlight the need to address upper extremities injuries and to better address lower extremities injuries for both the younger and older drivers. For all body regions studied, the vast majority of all serious and moderate injuries occurred in Full Engagement and Offset crash modes for both the younger and older drivers. Corner impacts, which have been the focus of recent research and testing programs, are the smallest contributors to serious and moderate injuries in frontal crashes. Greater opportunities to mitigate injuries in frontal crashes for vehicles have been shown to exist in lower speed full frontal and offset crash modes.