An Evaluation of Near- and Far-Side Occupant Responses to Low- to Moderate-Speed Side Impacts 2020-01-1218
Many side-impact collisions occur at speeds much lower than tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In fact, nearly half of all occupants in side-impact collisions experience a change in velocity (delta-V) below 15 kph (9.3 mph). However, studies of occupant loading in collisions of low- to moderate-severity, representative of many real-world collisions, is limited. While prior research has measured occupant responses using both human volunteers and anthropometric test devices (ATDs), these tests have been conducted at relatively low speeds (<10 kph [<6.2 mph] delta-V). This study evaluated near- and far-side occupant response and loading during two side impacts with delta-V of 6.1 kph and 14.0 kph (3.8 mph and 8.7 mph). In each crash test, a Non-Deformable Moving Barrier (NDMB) impacted the side of a late-model, mid-sized sedan in a configuration consistent with the IIHS side-impact crash-test protocol. Two instrumented Hybrid III 50th-percentile male ATDs were positioned in the vehicle, one in the driver’s seat and one in the right, front passenger seat. Both ATDs were restrained with the vehicle’s three-point lap and shoulder belt. Head accelerations, upper- and lower-neck forces and moments, chest accelerations, lumbar spine forces and moments, pelvis acceleration, and seat belt webbing loads were collected for both ATDs. No occupant-to-occupant contact occurred in either crash test. The near-side ATD’s head did not contact any vehicle structures during the 6.1 kph delta-V impact but did contact the side window glazing during the 14.0 kph delta-V collision resulting in the highest head accelerations and neck compressive loading. All occupant loads measured in the current study were considerably lower than published tolerance levels for human injury and Injury Assessment Reference Values (IARVs). The spinal loads were also comparable to, or less than, those produced during non-injurious, simple physical activities.