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Technical Paper

Thoracic Spine Extension Injuries in Occupants with Pre-Existing Conditions during Rear-End Collisions

Certain ankylosing spondyloarthropathies such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) can substantially alter clinicopathologic spine biomechanics as well as injury mechanisms in rear-end motor vehicle collisions. AS is an inflammatory disease which can lead to structural impairments of the spine secondary to flowing ossification along the spinal column, including ossification across the spinal discs, facet joints, and ligaments, and it has also been associated with diffuse osteoporosis of the spine. DISH is characterized by excess bone formation along the spinal column, encompassing the annulus and forming the thickest and strongest bridging osteophytes over adjacent vertebral bodies at the level of the disc space. In both conditions the spine is mechanically stiffened and generally more kyphotic than a healthy spine.
Technical Paper

Risk of Concussion in Low- to Moderate-Speed Frontal and Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collisions Evaluated Using Head Acceleration-Based Metrics

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in awareness and concern about the occurrence and long-term effects of concussions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related emergency department (ED) visits associated with motor vehicle collisions, including patients with a diagnosis of concussion or mild TBI (mTBI), have increased while deaths and hospital admissions related to TBI have decreased. The diagnostic criteria for concussion have evolved and broadened, and based on current assessments and diagnostic imaging techniques, there are often no objective findings, yet a diagnosis of concussion may still be rendered. Clinical assessment of concussion may be based only on patient-reported symptoms and history, making it difficult to objectively relate the reported increase in TBI-related ED visits due to motor vehicle collisions to specific collision parameters.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Occupant Loading in Low- to Moderate-Speed Frontal and Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collisions

Low- to moderate-speed motor vehicle collisions are common roadway occurrences that are generally associated with low rates of reported injury. While such complaints are generally infrequent, claims of injuries resulting from low- to moderate-speed motor vehicle collisions persist. A limited body of literature using quantitative techniques and full-scale crash tests is available to assess the injury potential associated with such collisions. Prior studies have analyzed occupant kinematics and kinetics as well as human injury risk in low- to moderate-speed collisions with older vehicle vintages but do not assess the effects of updated vehicle interior designs and occupant protection devices reflective of efforts to optimize occupant kinematics and reduce occupant loading and injury risk in more modern vehicles.
Journal Article

Crush Energy and Stiffness in Side Impacts

Crash tests of vehicles by striking deformable barriers are specified by Government programs such as FMVSS 214, FMVSS 301 and the Side Impact New Car Assessment Program (SINCAP). Such tests result in both crash partners absorbing crush energy and moving after separation. Compared with studying fixed rigid barrier crash tests, the analysis of the energy-absorbing behavior of the vehicle side (or rear) structure is much more involved. Described in this paper is a methodology by which analysts can use such crash tests to determine the side structure stiffness characteristics for the specific struck vehicle. Such vehicle-specific information allows the calculation of the crush energy for the particular side-struck vehicle during an actual collision – a key step in the reconstruction of that crash.
Technical Paper

Energy Dissipation in High Speed Frontal Collisions

One element of primary interest in the analysis and reconstruction of vehicle collisions is an evaluation of impact severity. The severity of an impact is commonly quantified using vehicle closing speeds and/or velocity change (delta-V). One fundamental methodology available to determine the closing speed and corresponding velocity change is an analysis of the collision based on a combination of the principles of Conservation of Momentum and Conservation of Energy. A critical element of this method is an assessment of the amount of kinetic energy that is dissipated during plastic structural deformation (crush) of the involved vehicles. This crush energy assessment is typically based on an interpolation or an extrapolation of data collected during National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored crash testing at nominal speeds of 30 or 35 mph.
Technical Paper

Full-Scale Moving Motorcycle into Moving Car Crash Testing for Use in Safety Design and Accident Reconstruction

Test methods for vehicle safety development are either based on the movement of a vehicle into a stationary barrier or the movement of a barrier into a stationary vehicle. When deemed necessary, a two-moving-vehicle impact is approximated by modifying the impact motion between the moving and stationary objects. For example, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 214 side-impact crash test procedure [1] approximates the lateral impact of a moving vehicle into the side of another moving vehicle by using a moving barrier with wheels crabbed so that the velocity vector of the barrier is not collinear with its longitudinal axis. Such approximations are valid when the post-impact motions of the two vehicles are not to be evaluated. Similarly, the published data indicates that historic analyses of motorcycle accidents and the advancements in motorcycle safety designs have been based, in large part, on single-moving-vehicle crash tests.
Journal Article

Passenger Vehicle Response to Low-Speed Impacts Involving a Tractor-Semitrailer

Low-speed sideswipe collisions between tractor-semitrailers and passenger vehicles can result in large movements and extensive areas of visible damage to the passenger vehicle. However, depending on the specifics of the collision, the resulting crash pulse may be extended, and the vehicle accelerations correspondingly low. Research regarding the impact environment and resulting injury potential of the occupants during these types of impacts is limited. Five full-scale crash tests utilizing a tractor-semitrailer and a passenger car were conducted to explore vehicle responses during these types of collisions for both the passenger car and the tractor-trailer. The test vehicles included a loaded van semitrailer pulled by a tractor and three identical mid-sized sedans. Instrumentation on the sedans included accelerometers and rotational rate sensors, and the vehicle and occupant kinematics were recorded using onboard and off-board real-time and high-speed video cameras.
Technical Paper

Repeated Impacts on a Motorcycle Helmet: What Happens After a Significant Impact?

It is widely accepted that a motorcycle helmet will reduce the risk of a serious brain injury during an accident through energy dissipation. Currently, there is no literature on what happens to a motorcycle helmet after repeated significant impacts or why it cannot be re-used according to the DOT label. It is also unclear experimentally if the foam liner is permanently affected after repeated impacts. In this study, we repetitively dropped one style of DOT-approved motorcycle helmet using a drop tower system in accordance with FMVSS 218. Helmeted Hybrid III and magnesium headforms were dropped onto a flat anvil with contact to the apical region of the helmets. Strips of pressure-indicating film were placed in the mid-sagittal plane between the foam liner and the headform. Headform accelerations and head injury criterion (HIC) for the Hybrid-III headform were calculated for each drop test. There was a trend for maximum headform acceleration to increase with the number of impacts.
Technical Paper

The Tolerance of the Femoral Shaft in Combined Axial Compression and Bending Loading

The likelihood of a front seat occupant sustaining a femoral shaft fracture in a frontal crash has traditionally been assessed by an injury criterion relying solely on the axial force in the femur. However, recently published analyses of real-world data indicate that femoral shaft fracture occurs at axial loads levels below those found experimentally. One hypothesis attempting to explain this discrepancy suggests that femoral shaft fracture tends to occur as a result of combined axial compression and applied bending. The current study aims to evaluate this hypothesis by investigating how these two loading components interact. Femoral shafts harvested from human cadavers were loaded to failure in axial compression, sagittal plane bending, and combined axial compression and sagittal plane bending.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Risk Trade-offs in Passenger Compartment Fire Retardant Usage - a Case Study

The process of design inherently involves consideration of risk trade offs; intervening to reduce one risk often increases another. In addition to creating a design for the intended function of the product, a rational process of risk management involves prediction of risk through design analysis, statistical evaluation of the history of similar products, and potentially multidisciplinary teams to address diverse causes of risk. As a case study, this paper examines the benefits of using one class of fire retardant to reduce risk of vehicle fire injuries and the countervailing health risk due to increased quantities of fire retardants released in the interior environment. Data sources for fire and health risk were researched and interpreted for use in the analysis. Information needed to reduce the uncertainties in the risk predictions are identified for future refinements to the conclusions.
Technical Paper

Inertial Neck Injuries in Children Involved in Frontal Collisions

There is a paucity of data regarding the potential for pediatric cervical spine injury as a result of acceleration of the head with no direct impact during automotive crashes. Sled tests were conducted using a 3-year-old anthropomorphic test device (ATD) to investigate the effect of restraint type and crash severity on the risk of pediatric inertial neck injury. At higher crash severities, the ATD restrained by only the vehicle three-point restraints sustained higher peak neck tension, peak neck extension and flexion moments, neck injury criterion (Nij) values, peak head accelerations, and HIC values compared to using a forward-facing child restraint system (CRS). The injury assessment reference values (IARVs) for peak tension and Nij were exceeded in all 48 and 64 kph delta-V tests using any restraint type.
Technical Paper

Timing of Head-to-Vehicle Perimeter Contacts in Rollovers

During a rollover accident the position of an occupant within a vehicle at the time of vehicle-to-ground contact affects the occupant's injury potential and injury mechanisms. During rollovers, the accelerations developed during the airborne phases cause an occupant to move away from the vehicle's center of mass towards the perimeter of the vehicle. The occupant is already in contact with vehicle structures during upper vehicle structure-to-ground impacts. The location and extent of the occupant-to-vehicle contacts and the times and locations at which the contacts occur depend upon a variety of factors including occupant size, initial position in the vehicle, restraint status, vehicle geometry, and rollover accident parameters. Onboard and offboard video of existing dolly rollover studies, specifically the “Malibu” studies, were examined to quantify the motion of the occupants' heads and determine the timing and locations of head contacts to the vehicle perimeter.
Technical Paper

Physical Evidence Associated with Seatbelt Entanglement During a Collision

Occupant ejection may occur during planar and rollover collisions. These ejections can be associated with serious/fatal injuries. Occasionally, occupants will allege that they were wearing a seatbelt immediately before the ejection occurred. Some accident investigators have opined that a seatbelt became disengaged due to collision forces and/or occupant interactions, leaving the occupant essentially unrestrained and exposed to ejection from the vehicle. We present three case studies of collisions with documented seatbelt disengagement at or during the collision, as well as three controlled tests. The release of the seatbelt was always associated with dire consequences for the occupant's outboard upper extremity. Evidence of seatbelt webbing interaction with the occupant was always evident, and the interaction of the belt with the vehicle interior trim was also apparent.
Technical Paper

An Evaluation of Laminated Side Window Glass Performance During Rollover

In this study, the occupant containment characteristics of automotive laminated safety glass in side window applications was evaluated through two full-scale, full-vehicle dolly rollover crash tests. The dolly rollover crash tests were performed on sport utility vehicles equipped with heat-strengthened laminated safety glass in the side windows in order to: (1) evaluate the capacity of laminated side window safety glass to contain unrestrained occupants during rollover, (2) analyze the kinematics associated with unrestrained occupants during glazing interaction and ejection, and (3) to identify laminated side window safety glass failure modes. Dolly rollovers were performed on a 1998 Ford Expedition and a 2004 Volvo XC90 at a nominal speed of 43 mph, with unbelted Hybrid II Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) positioned in the outboard seating positions.
Technical Paper

Rollover Severity and Occupant Protection - A Review of NASS/CDS Data

The subject of whether roof deformation in and of itself causes occupant injury in rollover accidents has been emotionally, scientifically and legally contested for decades. Since the publication of the earliest scientific research on the issues of automobile roof strength and non-ejected passenger protection in rollover crashes, the two views have been generally diametrically opposed to one another, and the debate continues. In order to gain perspective on the subject, the question must be answered as to how effective past and current automotive vehicle roof structures, designed to meet current government and industry standards, have proven to be in protecting vehicle occupants during real-world accidents involving the rollover of the vehicle they occupy.
Technical Paper

The Evolution of FMVSS 213: Child Restraint Systems

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 specifies requirements for child restraint systems used in motor vehicles and was first introduced by the National Highway Safety Bureau in 1971. In 1981, the standard was modified to require dynamic testing of child restraints. Over the following 21 years, Standard No. 213 was modified on numerous occasions, most recently in June of 2003. This paper outlines the history of Standard No. 213 with a discussion of the changes that have been proposed, the comments submitted to NHTSA in response to these proposed changes, and NHTSA's final decision (rule making) regarding which changes to adopt. Detailed discussion is included regarding NHTSA's May 2002 proposal to change the crash pulse, test dummies, injury criteria, and test bench required as part of the dynamic testing. The 2002 proposal also included expansion of the standard to cover child restraints for children weighing up to 65 pounds.