Heavy Truck Occupant Crash Protection - A Plan for Investigating Ways to Improve It 821270
THE CONCEPT OF PROVIDING more than minimum levels of crash protection to heavy truck occupants has received comparatively limited research and engineering attention. This appears to be due, in part, to the supposition that management of crash-induced kinetic energy is neither practical nor possible due to the relatively large mass and typically high travel of speeds of heavy trucks. This view is reinforced by the fact that proportionally few heavy truck accidents are fatal to their occupants, and many that are fatal are spectacularly catastrophic. Accordingly, heavy truck safety improvement efforts have historically emphasized accident prevention while leaving crash mitigation subjects relatively unaddressed.
This paper discusses reasons why that assumption may not be valid. It also outlines a research program whose overall objective is the identification and development of incremental improvements to heavy truck cab components and structures which have the greatest possibility of being both practical and effective--namely improvements whose effect can be realized in non-catastrophic accidents that are nevertheless fatal to the truck occupant.