Correlation of Accident and Laboratory Impacts to Energy-Absorbing Steering Assemblies 690185

Data are presented for 19 frontal-force collisions involving vehicles with collapsible steering columns with collision severity rating from minor to very severe (17) and an injury severity index from minor to fatal. Injury results are compared to laboratory experiments in which a force of 1800 lb distributed over the rim and hub was measured for a fairly stiff wheel and collapsible column combination.
When the steering wheel did not deform excessively and the force reached the 1800 lb level as evidenced by column collapse, there were no serious thoracic injuries. Gross deformation of the steering wheel with exposed sharp spoke ends or small diameter hub resulted in serious abdominal and thoracic injuries.
Two cases of hood intrusion are presented, each of which resulted in fatalities.


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