Frontal and oblique-frontal impacts are responsible for about two- thirds of car occupant injuries. In those impacts, the steering assembly has been identified as one of the components most frequently hit by the driver. An in-depth study of accident injury data for the Marina car was used to identify the mode of injury. Angled barrier impact test using an OPAT dummy as driver successfully reproduced the mode of injury.
With a 90 percent plus seatbelt wearing rate in the United Kingdom, it is desirable to develop a simple test procedure to reduce the aggressiveness of the steering wheel to the face and possibly to alleviate the deceleration pulse of the brain. A steering wheel test, based on the standard interior impact test, has been developed and evaluated on seven production car wheels and on a newly designed safer steering wheel. All the production wheels failed the test, but the safety steering wheel passed the suggested test level.