1979-02-01

Safety Performance Evaluation of Seat Belt Retractors 790680

This paper discusses seat belt emergency locking retractor performance as measured in a sample of forty-four automobile models (1976-1978) sold in Canada and subjected to 30-mph frontal barrier crash tests. Parameters such as retractor lockup time, belt payout, and belt stretch were measured and correlated with injury criteria determined using 49 CFR, Part 572 anthropomorphic dummies. The vehicles ranged from subcompacts to full-size cars.
Results indicate that, in a 30-mph frontal barrier test, the retractors are locking at onset of dummy movement. However, the driver dummy can, and will, strike the steering wheel and column. The passenger dummy can strike the dash. The impact forces are attenuated by the belt system, however, and do not appear to be life threatening based on criteria contained in Canada and U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (Occupant Crash Protection).
The testing discussed in this paper was performed by Calspan and Dynamic Science under contract with Transport Canada, Road Safety Branch.

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