1985-01-01

An Impact Test Programme Using Six Models of Lower-Medium-Sized Cars 856054

This paper describes a test programme in which examples of six models of popular 1983 lower-medium-size four-door cars were subjected to front, side, and interior headform impacts to assess occupant protection.
The frontal test was a 30° angled impact into a wood-faced barrier at 60km/ h using restrained OPAT dummies. The side test was a 90° impact from a CCMC deformable mobile barrier at 50km/h. using a prototype Eurosid dummy to represent the driver. The interior headform tests used a 6.8kg free-flight headform launched from an air gun at 24km/h to impact 21 points that occupants are likely to strike in an accident.
The results of these tests are summarised and used to compare the occupant protection offered by the different car models and also to see whether the average level has changed since a previous set of similar TRRL tests on 1976 cars. The more recent cars appear to provide considerably better protection in frontal impacts, mainly because of reduced intrusion and lower occupant head accelerations, but little progress has been made on improving side impact protection.
It is suggested the current levels of occupant protection could be further improved by simple, cheap design changes, e.g., fitting energy-absorbing door trims in place of standard armrests and using less aggressive steering wheels with better padding over the end of the steering column. Improvements to standard lap diagonal seatbelts. for example by fitting pretensioners, would also be worthwhile for cars sold in countries like the United Kingdom that have a high belt-wearing rate.

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