This paper presents an analytical evaluation of unrestrained drivers of light trucks, vans, and multi-purpose vehicles (LTV's) in frontal crashes. Of particular interest was modelling of impact with the steering assembly. The baseline condition was simulated and steering assembly improvements introduced to project estimates of benefits from these countermeasures.
Compartment and steering assembly properties were collected for 15 LTV's representing the current LTV population. Computer model input sets were developed for simulating unrestrained driver frontal impacts with the steering assembly. The PAssenger And Driver Simulation (PADS) model was employed for the simulations. The baseline 15 LTV “fleet” was modeled in different frontal crash situations and compared to accident statistics. Countermeasures were introduced and estimates of benefits projected.
This study focused on unrestrained occupants, however safety belt usage is increasing and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is continuing to monitor accidents to assess causes of injuries to restrained and unrestrained occupants.