The risk of head or chest injuries is usually evaluated by means of acceleration measurements using a dummy. Unfortunately, this data provides no information on load distribution over the contact areas which is often related to localized fractures of the bony structure. Therefore, new methods of measuring local forces were developed. 1. Pressure indicating devices attached to a dummy's face are capable of monitoring the local pressure during impact; foil's color change is interpreted by means of digital image analysis. 2. A velocity sensitive viscous tolerance criterion was calculated from the chest compression response of a dummy instrumented with strain gauges on the ribs. The application of advanced techniques in laboratory tests clearly supports the experience of improved protection potential through the use of airbag systems.