This paper addresses the protection of occupants in light vehicles. It presents data and techniques for identifying and measuring potential crashworthiness improvements that would mitigate injuries to occupants striking frontal interior components such as the steering wheel, instrument panel and windshield. Both restrained and unrestrained occupants can be injured by frontal interior components in crashes. The focus of this paper is on the unrestrained occupant. However, performance criteria and associated countermeasures will have to be developed considering the differences in the mechanisms of injury to both the restrained and unrestrained occupants. Work on the restrained occupant and the similarities and differences between both conditions remains to be considered.
The paper presents information on the magnitude and types of injuries received from frontal interior components and on how the performance of these components and the vehicle structure affect the resultant injuries.