This is a summary of a paper which first appeared in the International Journal of Crashworthiness under the title: “Side Impact Protection - Occupants in the Far-Side Seat”, Vol. 3, No.2, pp 93-122. Readers are directed to the full paper for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues presented here.
Much of the applied vehicle side impact occupant protection research to date has concentrated on occupants seated beside the struck side of vehicles. These occupants are defined as ‘near-side’ occupants. Real world crash evidence however has shown that occupants seated on the side away from the struck side, defined as ‘far-side’ occupants, are still subject to a risk of injury. This paper examines side impact epidemiology from an injury causation perspective, and endeavours to explain evidence indicating head injuries and seat belt related injuries constitute a significant proportion of all far-side impact injuries. Injury mechanisms and key dynamic parameters governing injury severity are detailed. Computer models simulating the dynamic motion of vehicle far-side occupants are described. Occupant kinematics and injury parameters from the models are then compared with real world crash case studies. The paper finally suggests vehicle design strategies which may reduce far-side injuries. Some alternative restraint systems are proposed as potential countermeasures to reduce occupant injuries.


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